We went to Barbecoa, the latest restaurant venture for Jamie Oliver and his fellow chef and business partner, Adam Perry Lang. Located in the new shopping complex next door to St Paul's Cathedral, the restaurant is modern and lovely.
I could smell meat cooking as soon as I walked in the door, which pleased me greatly. We shared starters of crispy pig cheeks; crispy calamari; and baby back ribs. I enjoyed it with a glass of prosecco, but only because I was starting slowly. Then for my main course I had rump steak (cooked perfectly medium rare), and shared some side orders of cannellini beans and also some spinach. My steak came with some eggplant which was nice at the start but as it cooled it got kind of gluggy, so I didn't eat it all. I was just excited to be enjoying my first steak EVER in London and it was so delicious.
All of a sudden, M squeaked that Jamie Oliver was in the house and sure enough, the man himself was shaking hands and moving from table to table to greet lunch guests. Slowly but surely he made his way to our table and we got to have a photo taken with him. I'm not the most photogenic person so I normally hate having my picture taken, but I was pleased to have the chance to see Jamie and say hello and he was so obliging. In fact, I wanted to post the photo to this site, but my computer's settings are playing up so you'll just have to settle for clicking here to view it.
Fast forward a few hours and some more drinks, and we were ready to head out from lunch. The restaurant had emptied out and the sky had grown dark really quickly - something I shall have to get used to up here at this time of year. We all took the glass elevator to the top floor of the shopping complex and got some lovely shots of St Paul's Cathedral and finding a quiet pub for a 'roadie', before heading home again.
As Christmas lunches go, I have to say that this was one of my favourites - not just for the celebrity encounter, but for the delicious food; great location; and wonderful company. We laughed a lot and told stupid stories and enjoyed a delicious meal besides. All terribly adult of us, really but what a way to celebrate a great year (or half-year, in my case).