We met I for lunch in Kensington High Street and after real decent coffee in a tiny place by the church we went over to Babylon.
The restaurant is on the floor above the Roof Garden, hence the name, and is that kind of ultra cool decor that one only really finds in major cities. I'd read varying reviews of the restaurant some scathing of the service but I have to say we didn't have any complaints with the service from our blonde Russian/Ukrainian waitress who even managed to even out the wine usage.
Mine and S's starter was a grilled goat's cheese thing on a mound of salad which was pleasant enough but could have done with a sharper dressing. A raspberry vinegar based dressing maybe. J had cauliflower soup which looked very good and soup I find is the only thing that cauliflower does well as its largely water frozen into a cellular state. 'I' had smoked salmon which looked pretty much like smoked salmon.
J chose sausages with champ mash for mains and the rest of us chose fish and chips. I think this was more down to the relative cost of the dishes rather than anything else, though 'S' was pretty certain about the fish and chips from the beginning. The chips were more like railway sleepers than even fat chips being squared off but were very good and went well with the quite delicate battered fish, the batter made up with beer. Still about the only way we could have had a more expensive fish and chips would have been to take a flight and go have them on the pier at Monterey, though they are by far the best fish and chips I've had at any time in any country. Which is a little galling.
The deserts were quite spectacular, though S and I had the same, 'I' had the selection of ice creams. I don't know why S chose the Calvados Baba, probably because she didn't know what Calvados was and she did complain that I was copying her though I do have a particular fondness for Calvados. The waitress was concerned that S would find the dessert too strong and I pretty much agreed with her but (and perhaps I was foresighted enough to realise that I'd end up with the baba if she didn't like it), we felt she'd be better off finding out for herself rather than doing the you're too young to know thing.
The deserts came on some square and triangular bits of glass that you generally see in bathroom windows, opaqued with striations and bubbles. The babas were small towers of sponge soaking with calvados but when you carved a slice out of the side the sponge was crisp and dry and only yielded up the calvados as you ate it which was lovely. It came along with apple sorbet and apple crisps that were completely dry.
After coffee we took a walk on the balcony over the garden, which has its own rill and a duck was slowly paddling around the pool it ran into. It is almost Japanese in feel, though there is nothing Japanese about the design of the garden or the plants.
All in all an excellent way to begin the Christmas season.
The original posting in the new journal is here