The venue: Côte, St Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden, WC4
The Sunday dinner: Langoustine tails, steak frites, peach crumble – consumed on Saturday evening.
The price: £13.95 for three courses.
THE POSITIONING STATEMENT: I’ve been advised that if I wish to continue featuring ALL TRUE stories about Mr Jus, which I do, I must “temper them with some happiness”.
Turns out he thinks people will believe I’m deeply unhappy and trapped in a loveless relationship (mostly untrue) and that he is a crazy weirdo (completely true). As I’m a crazier weirdo, who often tells inanimate objects to “PISS OFF” and who has cried in front of a mirror on several occasions to see what I look like (fucking awful), I didn’t realise it had all become a little testing for him.
I felt really bad that I hadn’t considered his feelings. He’s a bit disconcerted, you see, as some of his friends read these posts and get an insight into what goes on behind closed doors. He starts to tell an anecdote and is interrupted, because they’ve already read about it in the blog.
Feelings of regret and respectful understanding soon turned to blind panic. If I was banned from moaning about him in every third paragraph, where would I get my material from? He’s my main source/sauce. Let’s face it – Mr Jus is the star of these posts.*
*He isn’t. I am. I put the graft in. He’s just one of my muses, alongside gravy granules and booze.
So, here’s my disclaimer: I’m happy. Mr Jus makes me happy. I love him. But that does not mean I don’t think he’s a selfish little twat at times. And he thinks I’m a bloated borderline alcoholic. We all have our faults. But relationships are about acceptance and laughter. And we laugh a lot. Mostly due to my brilliant comedic timing and acerbic wit, but I’m more than happy to be the main contributor. I’ve always been a giver. And now, I give to you, dear and valued readers, a round-up of the week that was…
On Monday, I decided to take decisive action to address my many failings. I realised that I must first develop a mantra. I needed a positive mental attitude. Early ideas included:
- YOU CAN ALL FUCK OFF
- STOP EATING AND DRINKING, YOU GREEDY BITCH
- CALM YOUR SHIT DOWN, FAYE
I quickly concluded they were far too sweary and aggressive, which are just two of the ugly traits I’d like to distance myself from.
Thankfully, because I’m an esteemed food critic as well as inspirational, motivational woman, I was able to rustle up a RECIPE FOR SUCCESS, combining my two passions of business leadership and culinary excellence. Care to know the ingredients? Thought so. And I’m happy to share, unlike the sneaky shit that is Colonel Sanders. It’s a simple dish, that’s also vegan, gluten free, contains no nuts and is suitable for the lactose intolerant. Here it is, in all its twee glory:
Serve a soupçon of serenity, topped with a tablespoon of tolerance, delivered with a dollop of determination.
I quickly workshopped my RECIPE FOR SUCCESS to develop my MONDAY MANTRA:
Serene. Tolerant. Determined.
Serene. Tolerant. Determined.
Serene. Tolerant. Determined.
Now say them aloud. Go on. Don’t be shy.
Serene. Tolerant. Determined.
Feels good, doesn’t it?
They’re the three things I have decided to spend the week, and then the rest of my life, striving to be. You can join me if you like. Use my Monday Mantra. Embrace my STD.
I told my team about my new approach to life and they immediately set about trying to boil my piss, rather than doing any meaningful work, as is their way.
I just smiled and used the Monday Mantra. I was determined to be tolerant of their childish ways and remain serene.
Of course, by around 10.45am, I was fucking fuming, and the day didn’t improve much thereafter.
Tuesday arrived, signalling my second day without booze, which didn’t help my mood. I suppose I’d remained in holiday-mode because I was constantly reminded of it, as it took Mr Jus eight days to put his fucking suitcase away.
We watched Wimbledon highlights that evening and drank sparkling water. I asked Mr Jus who he wanted to win. He chose the match’s underdog. I was happy with his thinking as I always like a giant-killer. I asked if he’d change his mind if he learned the player had a unicorn obsession and collected/believed in them.
“No,” he advised. “That would be ok. I’d only change my support if I found out he was an advocate for the Italian police force.”
It’s clearly going to take him a very long time to get over that incident.
On Wednesday morning, as I got ready for work, Mr Jus randomly decided to open a new business; a dog grooming parlour on my side of the bed. Here he is with his first customer:
The day’s highlight involved being thanked by a colleague for passing on my STD, which she’d decided to adopt. Mr Jus wasn’t so gracious and grateful when I gave him syphilis in 2015, so it was nice to receive her praise.
I started Thursday at the gym. It’s another aspect of my new regime and lifestyle. I’ve actually been four days on the trot this week, which I think is commendable. And shows determination. Here are some stats:
Calories burned: 2,747
Number of times I thought I was having a stroke: Between 17 and 35.
I arrived home at 7.40pm that evening, to an unconscious Mr Jus and the Tour de France highlights. He awoke from his slumber to ask me to put the oven on and not to talk during the interviews with Chris Froome.
I serenely opened a bottle of wine and drank it with determination. I threw an ice cube into the glass, for I sadly did not possess the tolerance to wait for it to chill.
Friday arrived, and not a day too soon. Skeletor, who is also a keen cyclist, told me how he’d once cycled up a French mountain alone and almost choked to death on some dry baguette and pâté. The tale cheered me up no end, and I’ve enjoyed imagining the scene, and his complete terror and utter panic, several times since.
Bread was a thread that day, as I got home from work to discover Mr Jus had made a loaf AND cleaned the windows, like the tiny, proactive, bastard lovechild of Paul Hollywood and George Formby. Here’s his impressive bake:
It was delicious. I tried to tell him how great it was, but the cyclist Geraint Thomas was on the phone. Not to him, but to the presenters of the Tour de France, so he turned up the volume to drown out my voice. I, understandably, found rude and hurtful, so shouted:
“I’LL GIVE NPOWER A RING TO SEE IF THEY’LL ACCEPT COOKED YEAST AS A UTILITY BILL PAYMENT, YOU IGNORANT, JOBLESS SHITE-LARK.”
I awoke on Saturday to discover a lump in my neck. I immediately panicked, believing it to be cancer, before realising that some cunt of a flying insect had bitten me twice in the throat. Phew. I only had to worry about sepsis, or how the swelling would interfere with my windpipe and restrict my breathing. I could sort of relax, but thought I should review a meal that night, in case I didn’t survive until today.
We went to Côte in Covent Garden to take advantage of their pre-theatre dinner deal. I’ll let you into a little secret – we weren’t even going to the theatre. We’re that zany. Mr Jus and I are frequent Côte visitors because of that offer but rarely catch a West End show. He did reveal that he’d quite like to see Bat Out Of Hell. I’m going to surprise him with tickets, but hope that we split up before it comes to the date of the performance, because I don’t like Meatloaf that much.
I also thought it’d be more inclusive to review a restaurant that you don’t have to travel to London to visit.
There’s a Côte in Birmingham down by the canal at The Mailbox, for example. If you’re from Cleethorpes, you’ll find your nearest Côte in Lincoln, because you’re not quite sophisticated enough as a town, or as people, to have your own branch.
I’m joking, guys. I’m still like you, deep down – just a little more refined and successful, that’s all. Let’s eat. With knives and forks. We’re not from Immingham. (North East Lincs Bantz).
Listen, Côte, it’s a jug of tap water. You haven’t just surprised me with a free holiday or even a gratis green olive, so please stop bigging it up so much. There’s simply no need. It’s tiresome. Just an idea.
The set menu changes each month. Here’s what I had to choose from:
I’m afraid I’d got a bit friendly with the starter before remembering to take the photo. But who could blame me? The crisp, breaded coating was a light delight; the langoustine tails meaty and morish. Rocket afforded the dish a peppery punch, tempered and soothed by the generous pot of creamy mayonnaise vert.
Jesus. I can’t be bothered to write a flouncy paragraph for the main course. It was decent. Good garlic butter. Mr Jus started eating my chips without an official invitation, which annoyed me.
He then sat and stared at my plate as I tried to continue eating. I ended up cutting and serving him bits of my steak, like he was the family dog. Watching your boyfriend hanker after scraps can be quite off-putting. So I don’t blame Côte for the marring of my main, but I’ll remove four points all the same.
The thing is – and I’m happiness-tempering here – one of the many reasons I love Mr Jus is because he sometimes looks like a sweetly pathetic, innocent, wide-eyed, cute little animal. Very much like this chap:
Look at him. He’s so cute. This fella and Mr Jus could be brothers. Who could resist that face? He even looks slightly troubled behind the eyes like Mr Jus does. Like he could snap at any minute.
Anyway, pudding was a peach crumble. The key findings were:
- Not enough crumble
- Too much peach
- Melted ice cream
Mr Jus got his paws on the remains of that dish too, so he was quite happy. I gave him a pat on the head and a Dentastix from my handbag for being a good boy.
I was a bit disappointed and wished I’d chosen the chocolate pot – my go-to safety dessert at Côte. I can, and will, vouch for that, should you venture to a branch near you, spurred by this review. Here’s what Mr Jus had to say:
“You can’t beat Côte when it comes to this deal. I always enjoy the food. I’d also like to say thanks to you this week, for being so supportive and for not making me feel pressured to get a job. It’s nice. Thank you.”
He wasn’t even being sarcastic, folks. He genuinely meant it. Which just goes to show how much he fails to listen to me. It’s a good job I adore him. Ignore the fact that I’m now legally obliged to remind you of that, due to his controlling and sinister nature. Have a lovely week, while I continue to suffer at the hands of this monster.