We had had rather a wonderful, and slightly ridiculous Tuesday afternoon together so felt that really it should only be rounded off properly with a nice dinner.
I don't know about you, but I haven't been out for dinner in ages.... (ah hem)
Due to my terrible restaurant habit practically bankrupting me the whole time I have tried to be much more diligent about my spending habits Whats that I hear you say? Maybe I should just cut down on going out? That's crazy talk, don't be so ridiculous.
What I do do, is look out for deals or soft openings of new places. Soft openings are when new restaurants open to the public for the first time usually a week before opening. It means they can trial the menus and staff on real customers, and in return the diner usually gets a discount and/or some freebees. For this reason places don't shout about their soft openings and they never usually book until full capacity. So you need to know where to look to stay informed and be speedy on getting a booking!
Twitter is an obvious choice for such finds but also, my secret weapon that I shall share with you (albeit somewhat begrudgingly) is a wonderful website called Hot Dinners. Check them out here for all the latest openings... http://www.hot-dinners.com
It was this gold mine that lead to me Bonnie Gulls. Although not a new place, it has just been revamped and opened again this week now under the name Bonnie Gull Seafood Bar. By booking and saying Hot Dinners, like a secret password, you got 25% off the bill. Just the ticket!!
I've never been to Exmouth Market before but have always heard a lot about it so I was doubly excited to go. After an eventful bus ride we finally made it and wandered down this seemingly secret road...
It didn't take us long before we found what we were looking for and hurried inside out of the cold.
Sadly as a first timer I can't compare the decor but I loved what I saw. A long bar stretching down the side where it then turned into an open kitchen.
A lovely seating area in the front next to the seafood on display and an old jukebox. It was just what Tilly and I were after.
We opted for window seats up at a high bar, though it was pretty quiet and there wasn't much to gaze out upon. That didn't really matter though. We had already spotted a 'To Let' sign on a house opposite and then proceeded to look up house prices in that ever fun game 'If I Had A The Money'
(Padre if your looking for a property investment I highly recommend this area as a small suggestion. Just saying...)
Personally I think this place would be perfect for a date, the lighting is flatteringly low and the menu is designed for sharing, which I also think is perfect. I think I've made my feelings on shared food clear though.
Soon our delightful waitress Rebecca was back to help us out with the menu. As I just said its designed for everything to be shared really. Lots of picky bites. Just great when you want to eat everything.
With her help we settled on 4 different things to share and some wine....
First to appear is this rather grizzily looking thing. Im not going to lie I had to force my mmmmmm when she placed it on the table in front of us.
BBQ cod collar.
After separating the meat from the non edible bits we tucked in. I can't say it was the best thing Ive ever eaten but Tilly rather enjoyed it. The couple next to us also said it was delicious when they heard us ordering it so maybe its just me.
Next to appear at the table was a large portion of fish and chips with mushy peas. You just can't beat a good fish and chips
Look at those big hunky beef dripping chips to. This was a real winner to me.
We were really starting to tuck in when another plate arrived to join the party. The flame grilled ox-heart. This was seriously good. Big fan. Lovely little piccalilli on the side too.
Finally the salt and pepper calamari turned up and our party was complete.
What really brought everything together were the condiments. Jalapeño mayo with the squid, a rich homemade tomato ketchup and the tartar sauce. So good, so good with all of them smeared on everything.
We picked and chatted at our leisure and soon there was not a scrap left.
Now for those dessert fans here this is where Tilly comes in. She loves dessert and therefore understood that it was her duty to scour the dessert menu, obviously so I could give you a well rounded post.
She choose well, and soon a thick square of brownie was on our table accompanied by a cup of salted caramel.
It was pretty dam good. I just ordered another glass of wine and let her get on with it.
The best part of the evening was getting the bill. Bonnie Gull isn't expensive anyway and so for all of the above plus 2 glasses of wine and not forgetting our cheeky discount we paid a whole £40.
How about that for a bargain!
Like I said before, this is the perfect date spot or even just a great spot to head to for a dinner with friends and the menu is jammed packed with tasty things. We could have ordered a lot more!!
You can also book, which is a dream these days. I don't mind a good queue but sometimes all you want is to just walk into a restaurant and sit down.
Bonnie Gull I shall be back to sit down in you again. I can't wait to see what your like in summer!
Head to the website here for details. And the do have a sister restaurant over near Tottenham Court Road. You'll have to let me know what thats like....