Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Quick, Pre-Theatre Dinner @ The Delaunay

Last night, John and I went to see RSC's production of Wolf Hall at The Aldwych Theatre. Have you read the books (i.e. Wolf Hall and the subsequent Bring Up The Bodies)? They are so good. Well, actually, I'm only a third of the way through Wolf Hall but John's read both and he hardly ever has a book in his hand (or has the time to read) so you know that any book he recommends is definitely worthwhile - and he could not put these two books down. In fact, he looked over at me with sad eyes one night at the dinner table and I asked him what was wrong. "I'm almost finished with Bring Up the Bodies," he said sadly. "I just don't want it to end." He looked so forlorn that I felt obliged to reassure him by telling him that Hilary Mantel is working on the third installment. "Oh good!" he said, rubbing his hands together. Then he fell quiet. "She needs to hurry up," he said, looking worried.

Anyway, Hilary Mantel's writing style is nothing short of amazing. I love the descriptive imagery and Cromwell's voice, which I couldn't get out of my head for weeks after I started reading it. I definitely need to pick it up again.

But last night ... you guys, I'm not gonna lie. Mid-way through the second act, I TOTALLY FELL ASLEEP. It was 10:15 pm or so and way past my bedtime. Also, while the book took you deep into the head of Thomas Cromwell and did a lot of character development throughout, the play lacked this - superficially focusing instead on the story we know all too well re: Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, and portraying Cromwell is a sort of "fixer", as John put it, rather than someone who was really, really clever (which is how he comes across in the book). It was around Anne's stomping around on stage that I dozed off - only to be woken by an angry outburst from George Boleyn.

But before all of this happened, we had the loveliest pre-theatre dinner at The Delaunay on Aldwych. I've passed it several times before on the bus and always wanted to go in, but never had an excuse. It's a restaurant styled as a "grand cafe" serving delicious European food in a mahogany paneled, white tableclothed, and heavy velvet curtained environment - and yet, it's not stuffy at all, which is what I love about it. The bread (soft, but fashioned into a branch-like shape with leaves) arrived to our table promptly and warm and we had perfect seats for people watching, which is always fun.

Though we didn't have reservations, we were able to grab a seat pretty quickly and the theater was literally next door, so I didn't have to worry too much about being late, though we were sort of in a rush. I ordered two bockwurst with sauerkraut, sauteed onions, and potato salad from their extensive wiener list (yes, really) and John opted for a mouthwatering lobster roll with fries. It was so good!

I wish we had more time to spend there because I was drooling over the desserts, which I caught sight of as we were being led to our table: slices of the most exquisite cakes perched on ornate glass cake stands. I definitely want to go back for brunch, a long lunch, or even afternoon tea!



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