Thursday, October 14, 2010

martians. and ziloufs

I recently read Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. Yes. I know. Me. Reading a book like that. The bottom line of the book, as you can guess, is that men and women are completely different. Seems so obvious, yet something we so easily forget. The blurring of gender roles in modern urban and professional life has led to the inability of smart, intelligent men and women to realise that they are so completely different from each other. The anecdotes about the underlying causes of domestic arguments, resentment and misunderstandings made me laugh. I saw in them reflections of reality, of how things were. And a reminder of why it is sometimes so exasperating to have a conversation with a man. Which always makes me appreciate why girlfriends are important – you’re from the same planet and they understand you.

R understands me. We are most definitely from the same superior planet. A girl’s night out for dinner and cocktails and a jolly good catch up was long overdue. So it was off to Zilouf’s. R had been there before and thought it charming. And it was. It had character without being overbearing. And i liked the little decorative touches, like the antique sewing machines littered around I was, to be honest as I always am, worried about any place that describes its food as pan asian. But there was honestly no need for concern. The food was delicious and the portions were entirely generous.
R started with the thai beef salad, and I had sticky pork ribs. They were unctuously sticky. I started eating them with my hands, licking the caramelly saucy goodness as i went. The meat just fell off the bones in the very satisfying way that well cooked ribs do.
We both went for the crispy pork belly for our mains. The crackling was gorgeously crispy. And the roasted pumpkin round was a delight. Roasted till just done, it was a nice sweet foil against the richness of the fatty pork belly. It came served on a bed of pak choi. Always amuses me when pak choi is served like that – i always prefer it done the regular chinese home-style way (as i probably do most vegetables), stir fried quickly with oyster sauce and garlic oil – but the freshness of the pak choi worked well with the other flavours already on the plate.
There was lots of other stuff on the menu i wanted to order too, but that’s okay – i’m determined to come back. My only gripe was with the trio of fruit flavoured sorbets we ordered to share which were a tad too sweet, but the desert offerings had other options which sounded delectable.

As with chats with girlfriends go, our chats soon turned to the topic of Martians – of husbands, boyfriends, ex-boyfriends, toyboys and flings. Of male bosses, colleagues and the gorgeous spinning instructor. I shared the lessons learnt from Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus, and regaled the anecdotes from the book to test if they rang true with her. It was a night of conversations laced with much sage nodding and belly hurting laughter as we swapped stories on the Martians in our lives. I’m not sure i’ll rush out to buy the other books in the John Gray Mars/Venus series – there is a limit to how much value one can get from books like that which makes a single point, useful as it is, over and over again to ad nauseum. Though, i suppose it can never hurt to be told one more time – Men are different from us. Treat them like a woman at your peril and with possibly disastrous consequences.

Thanks for a great night R – i had a lovely time. x

270 Upper Street
N1 2UQ



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