Although the chefs were hard at work inside Leiths Portobello, it was a sunglasses and scarves kind of day outside with Spring springing on every corner for our London debut.
We transformed what is usually an exciting test kitchen into a restaurant kitchen and the meeting/conference space into an atmospheric venue with hessian runners, olive branches, rosemary sprigs and soft candlelight. All before we welcomed a happy gaggle of guests for an incredible Italian feast created and prepared by Chris and fellow Diploma students, Johanne and Alona. They looked so at home in the cavernous kitchen and believe me when I say they did an amazing job. They were calm, professional and created big flavours and vibrant plates with great passion and skill before an epic and late night clear up mission.
The vibe was relaxed, easy, not at all how you might imagine a group of random diners in an industrial unit. We really cherish the power of food to bring people together and watching guests sharing heaped anti pasti platters and breaking sensational bread together was a real treat which only continued as the night and the plates rolled on. There was even an improptu serenading of our resident birthday girl, in true Itailian style! Here's what guests ate and how it looked...
Although this morning didn't start with the wished for lie in (and rather with Eva smashing nail varnish onto the carpet - eek), we feel a hazy, happy tiredness and very thankful for such a warm welcome to London. A special mention for the support of the diners, friends old and new and our chosen charity the MS Society, for the brilliant dedication of Alona and Johanne and for our dear, Edinburgh friends who looked after our chicken pox ridden girl and sleep resisting pre-schooler. We're wondering what the real Charlie and Evelyn might make of this too. Now that's a happy Sunday (and shhh, don't remind Chris he just needs to run 26 miles now).