July 31, 2010

Lunch at The Wells

Two weeks ago in London I met up with author Marika Cobbold for lunch. I've always liked her books and when I found her on Twitter around Christmas last year I decided to follow her. Soon she followed me back and we started talking, or whatever it's called to communicate with 140 characters or less. Tweet I think.

When Marika's first book Guppies for tea came out here in Sweden in the early 90's it was a rather big deal since she was Swedish writing in English. Also for us here in Gothenburg we knew very well who her grandfather, father and brother was. All have been or is editor in chief for our major morning paper. I also found it rather fascinating and encouraging that it is possible for a Swedish person to write a book in English and get it published (there have been five more for Marika). I've been writing all my life and for the last 15 years or so in English so it really shows that it is possible. But, yes you have to have a great story tell of course.

Fast forward and there I was getting of the tube at Hampsted. The first thing I see at the station is a huge advert for Dutch Flyer. One of our products for the North Sea. Not sure what to call it. Faith. Irony. But it made me laugh and I had to stop to take a photo.

While waiting for Marika outside the station I realized it felt like I was waiting to meet with an old friend. Even though when meeting with an old friend you do not look at every woman passing by. Waving and shouting Marika was not to miss and with the cutest little dog in tow (Unfortunately I don't remember the name. Albie?) I've been to the Heath twice but never to Hampstead village and it really was adoring. Cobblestone streets with cute cottages and houses.

Marika and I started talking immediately and by the time we arrived at The Wells, where we were going to have lunch, we had managed to talk already about editors, grandchildren and my job. We decided to sit inside since it was rather windy outside and got a great table in the corner. The waitress came by twice to take our order but since we were talking so much we hadn't even looked at the menu. Finally looking at the menu I knew exactly what I was going to have - Red peppers stuffed with mushroom risotto, grilled goat cheese, spinach, tomato ragout. I'm simply the risotto girl. Marika decided on Chorizo, feta, cherry wine tomatoes, olive and rocket salad with extra olive oil. To drink we went with two glasses of La Boussole Viognier from the Languedoc-Roussillon region.

I now know that The Wells is considered one of the best gastro pub in north London and I also know the reason why. The food is absolutely delicious. The risotto was perfect (and I have tried a lot of risotto...) and with the goat cheese slightly melting and mixing with rice. Oh la la! The grilled pepper, spinach and tomato ragout also contrasted very well with the goat cheese and risotto. The wine with hints of apricots and ginger was also a great choice. Marika's chorizo salad looked fabulous too and even though it was said to be starter it was a huge salad.

I had already noticed on the menu that they had banoffee pie and when the waitress asked if we were going to have desert I said yes very quickly. We also asked for two spoons which turned out to be a great idea. I'm pretty sure it was the best banoffee pie I ever had, but again it was huge. Marika did a good job helping me and in the end I think we both looked like two very satisfied cats cleaning off cream from our whiskers.

Time flies when having fun. During our 2 hour-lunch we talked about everything from our mutual love for the Swedish west coast and ocean to perfume and suitcases. And plenty of other things in between. It was a lovely afternoon both people and food wise. When it was time to pay Marika very kindly picked up the bill as treat for me coming all the way to Hampstead. Something that means it's on me next time we meet, Ms Fabulous Marika!

1 comment:

Kanga_Rue said...

You sounds so excited that you met her - it really comes across. So glad you had a great time, and the food looks delicious! Must remember it for the next time I'm around that side of town.