Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Birthday Dinner at Paramount, Centrepoint on Oxford Street

So, I just might have received the best belated birthday present yet: last week, Tom and Cristy presented me and John with tickets to the viewing gallery at The Shard. Made entirely of glass and standing at over 1,000 feet, this is now the tallest structure in the European Union. As I stood at its base waiting for a bus in Bermondsey last month, I almost toppled backward (in true, comic style) while attempting to look up at the building. Typical.

While our much-anticipated visit to the Shard may have to wait until we get some clearer skies here in London, I surprised John with dinner atop Centrepoint last night as a birthday treat. Like many other people out there, I do find - to some extent - restaurants and bars at the top of buildings rather gimmicky and unoriginal. I also feel like they're the kind of places people take each other to on first/second/third dates to impress them. "I just want you to know that I didn't take you here to impress you," I said to John as soon as we sat down. After 8 years together, I'm not sure there's much more to be impressed by (although he still impresses me daily, but that's for a sappier post - like, never). "I took you here because I know you love skylines!" And he loved it. Who wouldn't? I don't care how cynical or cool you are - seeing cities from above (for example, I have never, ever seen the British Museum's glass domed ceiling from a bird's eye view until that evening) is amazing. One of the highlights of our trip to Bangkok last year was having drinks at the Lebua Sky Bar and seeing the city from a similar vantage point.

I was impressed by the restaurant as I had booked a Toptable deal (3 courses for £38.50, which is excellent, considering that you can select any course from the ala carte menu - sorry, was that tacky that I just named the price on here? Oh, well.) and (politely) asked to be seated at a window table (which was granted) and for John's dessert to arrive with the words, "Happy Birthday", written on it, plus a candle. Which all happened. Of course.

(Sorry, is it tacky that a) I took a photo, or rather, made John take a photo of his own dessert b) posted it on Instagram and c) posted it here? Oh, well.)

Had it been a Friday and not Monday night, I would have easily liked to ascend to the viewing gallery for cocktails after dinner. But alas, the pumpkin carriage taxi 38 bus beckoned across Tottenham Court Road and we descended 32 floors instead, back to earth.

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