As you all know, I absolutely love birthdays. I will, without a doubt, celebrate mine for a week and if I could, I would turn it into a month (but unfortunately no one was too keen on dealing with my birthday divaness for an entire 30 days). Anyways, it just so happens BW is the complete opposite. Whilst I rip open every present that comes my way, BW doesn’t ask for a single thing. And whilst I sing along with the restaurant staff singing me happy birthday, BW shudders at the thought. Heck, he hasn’t even had a proper birthday party since he was 8! So I’m sure you guys could imagine just how worried I was when his birthday started to slowly approach us. Of course I wanted the best of the best for him, but without freaking him out, so I managed to pull together an entire weekend of little birthday surprises for my old man of a husband, BW.
Keeping him out of the planning, I had organised a stay at Blakes, a boutique hotel based in Kensington, and booked a restaurant that offered great food, a decent view, and a lively crowd: Aqua Kyoto. As we took our seats and combed through the food menu we couldn’t help wish we could just eat everything. As it turns out, all we needed to do was ask and we were thrilled to discover that everything was indeed halal, with the exception of the Japanese Wagyu. Ohmygosh amazing!!!
The assorted sashimi arrived on a bowl piled high with crushed ice with dollops of wasabi scattered around slices of fatty tuna, mackerel, salmon, tuna, and yellow tail – all fresh and delectable. We worked our way up the ice bowl, leaving the fatty tuna to last as we presumed this would be the best, but my favourite was actually the mackerel! It wasn’t very fishy at all and made a change from the usual salmon, tuna etc. that we are use to.
These green tea, wasabi prawn tempura were elongated prawns that had been covered in batter and deep-fried to give a lovely crunch. However, I felt that the flavour of the green tea wasabi was completely lost on me and there wasn’t any of that familiar spicy kick.
Black cod is known for its buttery, flakey texture and the subtle yet delicious sweetness – a modern Japanese staple. BW and I decided to be a little different, and order the maki version as opposed to the fish fillet. I popped a roll into my mouth and instantly realised that we had made a mistake – we should have stuck to the classic! The maki consisted of small slivers of black cod that had been wrapped in a generous amount of rice thus that lovely caramelised flavour of the black cod was overshadowed by the sticky rice.
4 little hefters arrived on a plate and had been covered in a sticky, sweet glaze. Upon taking a bite, you are hit with the deliciously sweet flavour of the marinade, although the meat was a little lamb-y, despite being well cooked.
The wagyu bavette arrived cook to a nice medium-rare, and topped with soft tofu cubes and soya garlic butter They had sliced the bavette up into mini bite-sized steaks so I kept popping these juicy little guys and savouring the rich flavour of the wagyu. The meat was really tender, almost mouth melting, and paired well with the accompanying sauce. This was our favourite dish of the evening.
It doesn’t seem like we had ordered much but believe me, we were completely stuffed and had to cancel our last dish. I even had to sadly say no to the mouth-watering dessert menu, but that is also because I had made a lovely
betty crocker, I mean homemade chocolate cake for BW.
BW then got a not so great surprise, the bill! Oh dear. The total amounted to £154, which was a little steep but it was a special occasion. Perhaps for next time, we would probably play safe with our menu options as opposed to being adventurous, but asides from this, I enjoyed our meal. The presentation of each dish was aesthetically pleasing and the staff were generally helpful, thus making our meal that little bit more satisfying.
After waking up to an in-room breakfast consisting of eggs, pastries, and lovely pancakes, it was time to pack up, and head back home for part two: a birthday barbeque for all his closest friends! We used caterers, mzurikhana, to supply us with all the yummy essentials for the afternoon, and when the typical London weather decided to make an appearance, up went the umbrellas. Like true Brits, we continued our party through the rain!
BW was chuffed at the effort that all his family and friends went through, and he really, truly deserved it especially after all the grief I give him! Happy Birthday BW!! x