Well, I say young professional people - but last Friday saw me hitting Call Lane for a cocktail and I am neither of those things. But I put on about five times more make up than I normally wear and played willing.
Before I move on to the main event - dinner at the delectable Shears Yard - I first have to give a quick mention to the Black Swan bar/pub/restaurant type place that we visited for a pre dinner drink and that subsequently has leapt straight in to our favourites list. The espresso martini would have made me weep with joy if it hadn't been for the fact that my mascara was not waterproof. I am going back very soon to check out the pizzas that smelled, as they emerged from the beautiful bespoke pizza oven, like manna from Italian heaven.
The setting itself was gorgeous and bang on the current trend for exposed brick work and slight industrial aesthetic, but sufficiently full of twinkly lights to make it a romantic setting on Valentine's Day Eve (NB: not a thing). And the well sized bar, which allows patrons to relax with a drink both before and after the meal, was a lovely bonus - I am a big fan of having an area in which to linger in an establishment.
An early review of the place found the dishes to be a little try hard, and while chatting with the owner after dinner, he mentioned that they had tried to dial it back. That said, the kitchen seemed very keen on creating dishes with multiple component parts. Often, this meant that the individual constituents were slightly muted in flavour - I'm thinking particularly now of a chicken liver parfait definitely situated at the lighter end of the offal spectrum - which nevertheless came to life when matched with the mini smoked chicken kiev and home made brown sauce.
I went veggie for my main course and absolutely loved my cauli cheese spring rolls with charred romesco and curly kale coleslaw. Good vegetarian food is a thing of beauty and this was original, well thought out and sensitively treated. D was not impressed (he is a committed carnivore) - preferring to get stuck in to a pressed pork belly dish which he deemed very tasty indeed. A shared dessert of chocolate parfait with chocolate orange sorbet and a brownie was...well, as chocolatey as it sounds on the tin and beautifully made, even if it didn't push up against any flavour boundaries - quite frankly I don't want anyone to mess with my chocolate.