Twice a year, my husband and a bunch of other middle aged, not at the peak of fitness, mates play cricket in Regents Park. They love it, it’s literally the highlight of my husband’s year – I reckon, given a choice he would take two afternoons of cricket over an all expenses paid trip to, oh, I don’t know, Costa Rica. (FYI, if anyone wants to send me to Costa Rica, I’m well up for it).
One year, early in our courtship, I drove Marcel to cricket, and stood in the drizzle for maybe six hours watching them play and then went to the pub with some of the cricketers and listened to them reliving their every move from the cricket match. Whist I was stone cold sober because I was driving. Have I mentioned I find cricket quite tedious? Even though I’m a good Sri Lankan gal.
I’ve since learned that life’s too short to spend hours pretending to care about cricket, so this year, with the first of the two matches this summer approaching, I realised that my dear friend Alex was also playing, which meant that his girlfriend Katie would be free. Now I’ve known Alex for a decade (ish) and whilst he’s great (mostly), Katie is one of those truly awesome, clever and beautiful women and as she’s relatively new in my life, I figured it’d be the perfect opportunity to get to know her better (and let our men folk do that cricket nonsense). And of course, because we love them, we’d turn up to watch, maybe one – definitely not 5 – hours of their “glory” on the field. Pitch? I literally don’t know or care.
So we booked a table at the York & Albany which is spitting distance from the Hub in Regents Park.And one of my favourite places in London (introduced to me by another gorgeous, clever, funny friend, Sarah who bloody moved to Bristol a few years ago and I miss her madly and often. I should really go to Bristol more often :-))
Thankfully Katie likes a drink, so we started off by ordering a bottle of prosecco before we’d even contemplated the food. Now, I was still a little hanging from the Secret Cinema thingie (turns out you can drink a lot in Tattooine and the space booze makes your hangover last for two days), During those two days, I think everything I ate was either beige (toast, humous) or brown (chocolate). Not a green thing or a red thing or an fruity thing passed my lips. By Sunday however, I was feeling up to a breakfast smoothie (yup, those are still rearing their heads on occasion) and then headed out to meet Katie for lunch.
The reason I mention the hangover is because we had our prosecco and a bread basket (obvs – we’re not carb free fools) and I decided that I needed something light after two days of hangover eating, so ordered the cod. Despite there being what looked like an AMAZING Yorkshire pudding with the roast beef. And Katie’s roast chicken looked incredible. And to go with my cod, I ordered a rocket and tomato salad. Have I mentioned, I don’t really like tomatoes before? Well I don’t. I honestly don’t know what I was thinking other than I needed green things.
York & Albany is a Gordon Ramsay venue so we knew the food would be good and it was. Not mind-blowing but good, honest food. One of the reasons I knew I was going to love Al’s girlfriend was the first time we met, she ignored starters because she knew she’d want pudding. My kinda gal. So we ordered two – a lemon posset with an earl grey granita and shortbread. And a chocolate brownie with salted caramel ice cream. Jesus wept, they were awesome. That salted caramel ice cream blew my mind.
We naturally had a cocktail with which to wash down our puddings and then we headed over to see the last bit of the cricket and drink more prosecco. Apparently Marcel’s team beat Alex’s team (I honestly have no idea what was going on).
At some point, a few hours later, we found ourselves a little peckish. The incredible sportsmen we are married to/dating were also hungry so decided we’d head to Q-Grill in Camden, one of my favourite locations and home to some of the best macaroni cheese I’ve ever had.
Q-grill specialises in grilled meat so probably not the best place for a veggie – thankfully none of us are. I have a big love for fried chicken so ordered the buttermilk chicken with seasoned fries (which came with deep fried pickles – delish), Katie had the same but in a bun form, the boys had burgers and one of the other cricketers had pork cheeks with cheesy grits.
I honestly don’t think I could have walked another step after eating that much that day, so thank the lords for Uber. Here’s to many more lovely ‘ladies wot lunch’ lunches. Possibly not with ‘stuff your face’ dinners on the same day though