22 Jan 2013

Splashing out by the Seine

Tucked away on a luminescent strip of river, the boat looked every inch the glamorous water haven.  Its magnificence seemed unparalleled by twilight and I felt every inch the starlet as I walked across the jetty, my hair blowing gently in the icy breeze and my red ochre smile widening in eager anticipation.  I was wearing a strapless rouge dress, my new pearls, skyscraper nude platforms and a scarf made of rabbit fur draped gracefully around my neck.  I was going for classy with a hint of sultry.

As I walked through the grand entrance, I delicately slipped off my leather gloves, trying my best to retain an air of sophistication.  The waiter took my navy blue coat when I entered the aqua universe and swapped it for a numbered ticket.  I looked past the pristine white tablecloths towards the sparkling ripples of water magnified through the big glass windows.  We were to be dining on a boat.

It was already quite late when we waltzed in to celebrate my friend's birthday, so we swarmed the table with a vibrant energy.  Glowing lanterns were hanging above us like modern-day chandeliers, each one a different shade of yellow, pink or orange.  Menus were swiftly placed in front of our expectant eyes and before long I was persuaded by the lady of the evening to join her in ordering a Mojito Royal.  I thought of my ever-slimming wallet, and then of the occasion, and made a very blasé hand gesture as I finally succumbed with the words "oh, why not!".  I knew it wasn't going to be a cheap evening, and I'm particularly fond of my Mojitos.  Especially when they're topped up with Champagne for that added treat.  The perfect Aperitif.

The boat was a giant expanse of enchantment and it felt so liberating to step into this harboured beauty; like the world really was my oyster.  I looked around at the other tables, many of them empty, bar a large table of men and women who howled and guffawed in timely unison.  I soon conjured up images in my head of romantic soirées on boats in dazzling ballgowns, dancing to the music of Elvis Costello or Louis Armstrong.  All that was missing was a man in a tuxedo to sweep me off my feet and twirl me across the shiny strips of wood.  In this fairytale sequence, I playfully let my red ringlets bob up and down like the gentle waves lapping at the boat's exterior.  The fantasy was overpowering.

Just as I was picturing my dress revolving in twirling pleats, my eyes were suddenly drawn to the bread sticks, olive tapenade and fish paté which were sitting in front of me, desperate to be eaten.  I immediately swept the bread stick into the pungent olive mixture and let the strong taste melt in my mouth before the inevitable crunch.  It was truly divine.  To my right, an overflowing bowl of crusty bread looked too appetising to be ignored so I slipped a piece from the basket and nibbled on its soft, doughy goodness.

Before long, the waiters arrived laden with plates of different fish and meats.  A true seafood fan, I had ordered the salmon which came with a side of creamy tagliatelle.  I looked in awe at the heart-shaped pinky fish which was sitting beautifully in the centre of my plate.  It was fleshy and tender and I marveled at the infusion of flavours.  The eggplant purée and concentrated lemon and thyme juice were bursting in my mouth and complemented the salmon in delectable fashion.  A couple glasses of white wine only intensified the goodness.

After finishing the main course, the birthday girl wowed us all with a huge birthday cheesecake.  Mojitos, salmon and cheesecake are possibly my three favourite luxuries; I was literally in heaven.  The cheesecake had a gelatin-type top layer which was adorned with fresh passion fruit and mango, a soft creamy centre and a crumbly biscuit base.  I think I must have scraped my plate clean; a testament to my satisfaction.

According to my mother, I need to find myself a rich husband if I'm planning on living the high life and taking it seriously.  My expensive food tastes, my love of cocktails, my slightly rash spending habits; the money has to come from somewhere.  Happiness comes in many different formats, but for me, dressing up, eating fancy food and sipping complex cocktails while soaking up good company in glamorous surroundings is a sure way to make me smile.  Why?  Because I know I'll savour the experience for years to come.

Restaurant sur la Seine - je veux retourner.

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