Yesterday was the first day of my annual pilgrimage back to The Motherland and what a perfect British day it was! The weather (see, I’ve slotted straight back in), though mostly sunny, is windy and threatens to rain all day. My brother, sister-in-law, two small nieces and I all head off to the Kew Green Fete, a heart-warming collection of old-fashioned fairground rides and bunting-festooned stalls selling home-made cakes, crafts and vintage children’s toys and books. Still caught up in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee fervour, even though I watched it all on telly from Oz, I buy two sets of hand-made Union Jack bunting. Laura buys, amongst other things, carrot cake, which I hope we’re having for breakfast this morning, and we all lunch on ‘organic’ hotdogs with onions, mustard and tomato sauce.
On the way home we stop at a glorious little tea-house, with hanging baskets and yet more Union Jack bunting, for high tea. We have well-brewed Assam, made in a pot of course, along with dainty cucumber and smoked salmon sandwiches, some majestic looking pastries and, the pièce de resistance, scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream.
In the evening Alex and I dine at their fabulous local Italian, Q Verde, where we’re looked after impeccably, as usual, by the very friendly maitre d’, Geraldo. Glass of prosecco in hand we study the menu and ask Geraldo what he recommends today. This is the second time I’ve been here and, like the first, we opt to start with a mixed antipasti platter groaning with everything you could wish for: prosciutto, salami, bresola, mortadella, grilled prawns, crumbed calamari, stuffed artichokes, grilled aubergine and courgette (zucchini), olives, melon, tomato and mozzarella.
We follow up with saltimbocca alla romana for me, and calves livers for Alex. Both are very thinly sliced, cooked to perfection and served with sauté potatoes and al dente steamed vegetables. This is all admirably helped down by a lovely bottle of Nero d’Avola, a Sicilian red, poured into a beautiful glass decanter to mellow the flavours. Far too full for pudding, Geraldo insists on plying us with a couple of shots of grappa, on the house of course. In spite of the jet lag, curiously I sleep very well indeed!
291 Sandycombe Road, Richmond, Surrey
Visited 16 June 2012