I am not a great fan of the phrase 'date night', but I suppose once you are a parent that's what it is when you and your partner venture out for dinner. In pre baby days it was just 'dining out'. We used to eat out so much that I think it actually stopped being something special and became a norm. Something special was probably dinner in! Now it's the opposite. We cook a lot in the evenings (with a bottle of wine - as I type this, Hubby is preparing steak) which I absolutely enjoy (nothing better than eating a lovely dinner in your tracksuit bottoms) but, from time to time, it's nice to be 'in a nice place, surrounded by nice looking people, whilst looking pretty nice yourself'. I find that our best ideas about the future are born on these 'date nights' . I suppose once you have no distractions of BBC News (or worse - One Born Every Minute) you really start talking. Hubby and I have been together for over 10 years and yet we tend to talk non-stop! Remembering, planning, laughing, commenting. Extra bonus this time - my mum was visiting, which meant we could completely relax in the knowledge that Little Miss S was absolutely fine (well, actually more than fine - completely spoilt).
Initially the plan was to book either The Ivy or Nobu ... somewhat of an obvious choice for 'date night'. However, we left it too late and obviously couldn't get a table. So we ventured out without any reservations. To be honest, spontaneous choices are always the best ones ... Barrafina, which currently is one of the best tapas bars in town operates no reservations policy, but two hour wait whilst watching others eat (even with a glass or two in hand) was just too long (leave this one for a weekday rather than weekend). So off we went wondering round Soho and eventually ended up in Randall and Aubin - French Seafood and Oyster bar. We have been meaning to go there many times, but the long queue outside (yet again no reservations policy unless it is lunch) has always put us off. This time there was only a small queue (although it got very big once we were happily eating away at our table), so we decided to wait. In fact, waiting for half an hour whilst sipping rose and watching chefs cook is not really such a hard work! The atmosphere is really buzzing. They play house music - not too loud so you can have a perfectly normal conversation and a laugh without other dinners hearing you. This is great because I really dislike places that are so quiet that you have to really watch what you are saying.
This place is compact and packed but yet it still feels like you have your own personal space. We managed to get a small bay area by the wall which was very cosy. Also, despite the no reservation policy, you are not being rushed. We stayed there for around 3 hours (nothing worse than watching the clock).
Oh, and the food, of course! It's perfect if you are a seafood lover like me. We had grilled Oysters with spicy tomato sauce (I suddenly develop this enormous hunger as I type this), grilled Lobster, grilled baby Scallops with pancetta, Crab salad, roasted Langoustine ... All washed down with a crisp cold Rose wine (lots of it) and finished off with Flambéed Vanilla Crème Brulee. Heaven on earth.