History sometimes finds tiny, unexpected ways to repeat itself. During a brief business trip through London this past May, LL ate his first dinner and first breakfast at Côte Brasserie. In the spirit of exploring, he wandered out on a warm Thursday evening from his tiny soundproof room at the Marriott in Grovesnor Square toward Oxford Street and Marylebone to see what there was to see. As we were fresh from a family Mr. Selfridge binge, he was happily surprised to stumbled across the store itself and texted me photos. He called from St. Christopher’s Place to tell me about this great little restaurant he’d found. From his table at Côte, he texted photos of his gnocchi and fresh mint hot tea. He thought the meal was so good that he went back for a breakfast of eggs benedict breakfast the next morning where he emailed asking me to write down the name and address so he could find it again one day.
We didn’t guess that “one day” would happened a short 4 months later, and I would be with him this time, and we would wander our of our tiny soundproof room at the Marriott in Grovesnor Square on a warm Thursday evening toward Oxford Street and Marylebone to see what there was to see and take photos of the windows at Selfridge’s and then eat our first dinner and our first breakfast together at Côte Brasserie.
I was totally charmed by the neighborhood, with the walk across Oxford Street, with the people and the energy, and finally with Côte. It was perfect for a jetlagged first night out. The lights were dim, the wine was cold, the food was hot, the service was fast. We started with tiny olives and toothy, dense, freshly baked bread with unsalted butter, and a plate of sliced tomatoes.
I ordered the minute steak, a perfectly proportioned serving with lovely grill marks and a pat of herbed butter.
LL had creamy risotto loaded with peas and rocket – what we call arugula. Someday I’ll have to learn what triggered the difference in names. No matter what it’s called, I love it, and so was interested to see that rocket appeared to be much more common on English menus than arugula is on American ones.
Then for our first London breakfast, I ordered a bacon sandwich. More of that fresh dense bread shaped into a thin baguette with a couple slices of what we buy here as back bacon, unsalted butter, and tomato chutney and brown sauce on the side. I get why Elly Griffith’s Ruth Galloway likes her bacon butty. Truth be told, I was hooked on these for several weeks after we got home.
And LL got his eggs benedict again, served full English style with mushrooms and tomatoes. He’s an eggs benedict connoisseur of sorts, and this one was right on. Perfectly poached eggs, nicely seasoned sauce, served hot – it’s a dish that’s hard to get just right, and this one was. Again.
History doesn’t always repeat in such fun and delicious ways, but I’m open to it happening again.