Tonight was my monthly goss-a-thon over dinner with Katia. Whereas last time we gave so-so Malaysian food a go, this time we hopped across a continent or two to Africa.
Now, ‘Africa’ obviously encompasses a lot, so I didn’t really know what the menu at Ponty Bistro in Gramercy Park would look like. As it turns out, it had everything. Fish, pulses, vegetables, stews, kebabs, meats, cheeses. And thankfully, some booze.
As we gabbed about boys and work, I started on some African beer – the morbid-sounding Tusker – which was super light and flowery, and ideal for the bizarrely hot day we’d had.
The food was simple and so frickin good. I had the rather boringly-titled but delicious ‘vegetable plate’, starring raisined cous cous, pickled onion slaw, tangy greens and heavily-seasoned mushrooms. And a side of sweet, sticky (and surprisingly tough) plantains.
Of course our eyes were much bigger than our bellies and I don’t know how true to Africa any of this was, but it was heavy with flavour. It’s easy to say that you can’t really go wrong with cous cous and veg, but this had been elevated to something else. (As it should have been at $20+ a plate.)
When I’d arrived, I’d worried a little about Katia’s choice of venue as I felt I was interrupting an octogenarian’s birthday party. But it turned out to have a relaxed atmosphere and brilliant service, and most importantly, we didn’t feel rushed to get through the last month’s worth of news.