I’m currently ‘shredding for the wedding’ but I also can’t stop thinking about being in a restaurant again. There must be somewhere that does healthy indulgence, right?
First of all, my heartfelt congratulations on the engagement. As someone who regularly changes their laundry detergent because relying solely on Fairy or solely on Persil feels like too much of a commitment, I really do salute you. Secondly, having done some in-depth and entirely non-problematic journalistic research - stalked your Instagram babe, loved the March 2020 boiler suit - I don’t think you need to do any ‘shredding’. But seeing as I once existed on watermelon and Diet Coke in the hope of impressing a boy who looked like Fabrizio Moretti from very, very far away, who the hell am I to judge?
Now, I’m no nutritionist but I did do a few fashion internships where I learnt invaluable skills like how to steam silk, sobbing in photo studio bathrooms silently, and the exact nutritional value of every Special K cereal bar. Gillian McKeith, eat your bloody heart out. Alas, I hope you’re going for the more balanced route of sticking to your five-a-day, hitting the H20, and trying to dodge anything that sounds like a Willy Wonka wet dream. That’s why I think the best options for a big, indulgent meal that won’t have you whispering ‘please still fit The Dress, please still fit The Dress, please still fit The Dress’ by 10pm is a boujie seafood situation.
That brings me on to Sushi Atelier, a great little spot on Great Portland Street that serves some of London’s best sushi. You know, the kind that makes you question exactly what was in that ‘California Roll’ takeaway stuff from Boots. It’s also the kind of sushi that comes with a side of theatrics. Think razor clam ceviche arriving in a smoke-filled dome, seared butterfish carpaccio with just a smidge of foie gras on top, and a 12-piece omakase situation for under £30 that comes topped with yellowtail and truffle. Which, hello, is technically a fruit. An al fresco dinner here will still feel like an Event.
If you’re not a sushi lover, then let me also introduce you to Chicama. A nice little Peruvian restaurant on the King’s Road, it has a rustic, foliage-packed outdoor terrace that makes me question whether I should once again attempt to keep an olive tree alive on my balcony. The seafood here can be a little hit or miss, but their veggie dishes are excellent, especially if you get involved in the full vegetarian tasting menu. The charred sweet potato, courgette beignets, and grilled cauliflower with yoghurt and almonds are all stand-outs, and importantly, you still get the drama of a multi-course meal for £40 per person. Did I mention the very cute, incredibly charming terrace?
That being said, it’s currently harder to get an al fresco London restaurant reservation than it is to get that 60s swing band to commit to arriving before 8pm - no one cares if your banjo player also has a footie match that day, okay? - so here are some back-up options. The restaurant Pussycat Dolls to your Nicole Scherzinger, if you will. For a golden hour oyster situation there’s Oystermen’s huge cobblestone terrace in the middle of Covent Garden, or you can opt for a blowout meal of calorie-friendly tzatziki and grilled octopus at one of London’s high-end Greek spots with outdoor seating like Meraki in Fitzrovia or Notting Hill’s Mazi.
But most of all, whether you end up eating several rounds of truffle-topped sushi or pretend the honeymoon’s come early on a coastline-inspired terrace, I hope you can take the stress off. Put the ‘Floral Arrangements That Match Color Scheme’ Pinterest down. I repeat, put it down. As someone who eats out for a living and also refuses to part with all of the dresses from my former life as A Very Miserable But Very Skinny Person, I know that losing weight is a huge faff. Be kind to yourself and in the midst of emailing that uncle about Travelodge prices and the inevitable stress of a clusterfuck with the caterers, allow yourself a meal that will make you smile. Fuck it, have a glass of wine. You deserve it.