Sunday, November 25, 2007

Nonna Valentina

We went out for a meal with Mick and Blath last night. We had picked Nonna Valentina on Portobello Road on my recommendation. It was a big responsibility, given that I'm not a foody and everybody else at the table was. But after yellow-fin tuna carpaccio, lobster risotto, squid ink pasta with mussels and clams, pannacotta, tiramisu and other delights, everybody declared the evening a success.

The restaurant was packed when we arrived, a little late, for our 7pm-sitting. We had been told we had to be out by 9, and I was a bit worried we would be rushed through our meal, but it wasn't the case. Service was efficient, we were quick in deciding what we were going to have, and we had plenty of time to enjoy our 3 courses. We had a lovely table overlooking the canal (actually, if I'm not mistaken, it is the table you can see on the picture), which is in the quieter corner of the dining room upstairs. The place looked lovely, all lit up with chandeliers and little candles, and there was a good buzz.

We stopped at Mick and Blath's on the way, chatted for an hour or so, and played with Stan the dog (the game consisted of pulling his new teddy bear, which had already lost an ear and was rapidly getting soggy. By the end of the evening, there was white fluffy dacron filling all over the floor) and petted Hoppy the cat (who, at 16 years of age, is still well able to hiss and lash out at Stan. No doubt as to who is the top dog in that relationship!)

Mick and Blath's house is lovely, with white walls, big rectangular windows, nice glass doors and plenty of gorgeous paintings that Mick has purchased over time, and lots of Ikea furniture and lamps. We'll have to check out the Belfast Ikea store when it opens (on the 13th of December, according to the website - I can't wait!!)

By the way, while looking online to find out how to spell Blath's name, I found this Catholic Online website! Worth a look if you're into this kind of thing, and even if you're not! But did you know the following about St Blath:
"Feastday: January 29
The cook in St. Brigid's convent, in Kildare, Ireland, also called Flora. She was renowned for her holiness and for her steadfast loyalty to St. Brigid in good times and in bad."

And I also found on the Baby Names of Ireland website that Blath means Flower or Blossom!

You learn something new every day!

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