In my family, it’s a tradition for us to celebrate Christmas Eve by going out to a restaurant together. This is the equation:
[Christmas Day + cooking] – [Christmas Eve + someone else cooking] x [ample time for Santa to do a dry run and make sure our presents fit under the tree] = Jingle Bells Jingle Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fa La La La La.
See? Simple. And you all thought I’d forgotten basic arithmetic after quitting Maths in Year 12…
Now that I’ve got you firmly back in the Numerical Christmas Spirit (two and a half weeks after the fact), it’s time for me to tell you about a little restaurant called Saffron.
After all, you’ve been such good boys and girls all week.
To begin with, my Dad ordered Fried Halloumi.
I stole some.
Then I wrote a poem about it for you:
You are salty like the sea,
In fact, you have reminded me
It’s bad to get dumped by a wave
It’s nicer when the sea behaves.
I also tried half of a deep-fried zucchini puff, but it tasted like naught but dough to me. And not the delicious cookie dough kind of dough, either. (Mmm… zucchini cookie dough.) Lest you think I was wearing my crankypants whilst eating everyone else’s entrees, though, I shall state that the crumbed and fried mushrooms my brother ordered were well-received. They just weren’t well-photographed.
Unfortunately, after polishing off my main meal, I looked down and realised that I was wearing my sadpants. My mother and grandmother were also wearing their sadpants, because we’d made the heartbreaking decision to order the same chargrilled tuna dish.
Suffice to say, sharing one meal between three grown women is not a good idea.
I jest, I jest. I mean that we’d all gone for the same menu option, and despite all specifying that we’d like our tuna to be cooked rare, we were each served nigh-rock-hard slabs of bland, dry fish. The less said about that the better, but I will mention that the saffron rice served alongside the tuna was lovely in all its oil-rich, salty, yellow glory.
Luckily for me, I was sitting next to my dad and his plate of chargrilled prawns, chips, fattoush, and spectacles. Delicious swapsies were had. Note to self: get the prawns next time.
If the night had ended there, I might’ve had to cry myself to sleep. However, the most important part of dinner was yet to come:
Saffron not only managed to serve me a wonderful dessert, but did so by gallantly permitting me to order off-menu. Well, kind of off-menu. See, I have a bit of an eagle eye when it comes to dessert fine print, and so I’d spotted that the banquet menu (which our table hadn’t ordered) came with not only dessert but “halvah, baklava, Turkish delight, and Persian fairy floss”.
Consequently, when the waiter came to take our dessert orders, I put on my winningest smile, prostrated myself at his feet, stroked his shoelaces, and asked in my most Marilyn Monroe-esque whisper whether I might be able to have a plate of the banquet sweets for my dessert.
Happy biiiiirthday Mr Preeeeeeh-sident…
After getting up off the floor and dusting off my dress, I was presented with a lovely selection of sugary, sugary goodness. Now, so you understand how Serious A Moment This Was for me, you must know that I have detested Turkish delight since I was in the single digits, and have not eaten the stuff since I was in the single digits.
I am proud to inform you that I now love Turkish delight, and that this very plate was the impetus for my deeeee-ricious vanilla-poached apricots, as blogged here.
The Persian fairy floss was like sweet melting silk and the baklava was pleasantly nutty. The halvah, however…
… was like crack, and I’d like to eat it forever.
I hear the other desserts, such as a crumble, chocolate fondant, and sorbet, were also good, but you know what?
I can’t stop thinking about that Turkish delight and halvah. Ergo I wrote another poem:
Oh halvah and Turkish delight!
If I were you I think I might
Be prepared to run and flee
To avoid being eaten by me.