‘Girls’ Night Out – The Cowshed & Les Trois Garcons

Cows eating grass

The Girls Night Out has meant a variety of things over the years.  Our lives have evolved, and what used to be long drawn out drinking sessions and a stagger to a club, have also evolved.  The Girls Night Out has become a small window of time where we get to be ourselves and unwind.  Yesterday was a real treat.  I have not been splashing out since I stopped work, so felt I had earned a little indulgence.  We kicked off at the Cowshed Shoreditch for a selection of manicures, facials and massages and a few bottles of Prosecco.  2013 is the year of me trying new things and so I came to have my first ever pedicure.
There are two reasons for me never having had a pedicure, firstly i am ticklish beyond belief, but secondly I have a foot phobia and the very thought of my feet being touched by someone else makes me feel a bit …eeeuw.  I don’t touch feet …ever and I try to avoid even looking at feet at all as they make me feel a little light headed and woozy – especially if they are sporting a flip flop. I decided to be brave.

I am happy to report, it wasn’t a completely awful experience, but I was alarmed to see the electric sanding machine heading towards me and really did have a knee jerk response to it, narrowly avoiding kicking my therapist in the face.
  The Cowshed brand is clever – all the product names are vaguely insulting to the customer and yet it works (Grumpy Cow, Moody Cow etc).  They wisely stop short of Fat Cow or Old Cow, but nonetheless I find it difficult to imagine giving or receiving a gift labelled ‘Grumpy Cow’ or ‘Knackered Cow’ so if you want their products it is best to buy them yourself!.  The Cowshed has huge roomy armchairs to sit back in so we hung around for nail varnish drying and some more Prosecco drinking.
For dinner we had lucked out and managed to book table at Les Trois Garcons.  To be honest this was the 11th restaurant we had tried.  All the other restaurants were clearly more in vogue, fully booked with waiting lists, but we were over the moon to revisit LTG.  The Maitre d’ is funny and welcoming and the restaurant itself is such an eclectic little place that you always feel as though you have been lucky to find it.  The service is French, very French – it took several attempts for us to work out that ‘cheeeeves butter’, ‘cheeeese butter’ or ‘chiefs butter’ was actually ‘chives butter’, but in the end it added to lovely relaxed atmosphere.
My meal was outstanding and now that I am living on a reduced budget it was easily the loveliest meal I have had in a long while.  My crab starter was packed with intense flavours, crisp soft shell crab and crackers and a deep, dark broth.  This was served with a corn galette for a spot of texture, but felt that the few whole kernels of corn seemed out of place in the dish.
My main course was guinea fowl, apparently roasted with lemongrass and ginger, but not so you would notice.  The meat was moist and tender and melted in the mouth along with a pumpkin croquette.  Perfectly cooked green beans had bite and flavour, but were wrapped in a strongly smoked pancetta that overwhelmed the subtler flavours of the dish.
Desert was a banana fest – frozen banana puree served alongside a warm banana tapioca puddle flambeed at the table. A swipe of salted peanut caramel was not enough – I really can’t have enough of salted caramel (just as well given how it is now universally used).
In bed by 11 and no hangover today…The Girls Night Out has matured.

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