Bumping into an old friend is always a quintessential experience. Especially when that someone dates all the way back from high school, I can’t help but feel both deeply awkward and genuinely happy to reconnect with someone who reminds me of my years of fashion (non)-glory.
Thankfully, laughing at my dark past also happens to be a good icebreaker. K and I therefore agreed to reconvene for a proper catch-up. Our lieu de rendez-vous? Brasserie Central, a lovely Mediterranean-French fusion bistro located 5 minutes away from where we use to knock our heads over Logarithms.
Upon our arrival, we were greeted by (the hilarious) Heidi who explained to us the freshly pressed Portuguese-inspired tapas option. Gambas, Oysters, Wings, Mussels – they all sound so revitalizing and summery, so rather than hammering our heads around which one to choose, we simply took them all. That, and the octopus a la plancha from the list of entrées. It had been staring at me from the moment I laid my eyes on the menu. I knew there was no point in resisting.
And temptation was indeed right. Pulvo was a refreshing delight served on a bed of colorful lima beans, arugula and chimichuri sauce. Sweet tasting, the octopus was a joy to bite into – especially when it picked up one of the precious fried capers and their hint of sassiness on its way to my mouth.
Happy with our entrée, we were ready for our tapas affairs to commence. Round one: white wine and garlic Mussels and hot wings. The former, simple and straight to the point, offered a pungent garlicky journey. The latter, modest in appearance, brought some serious pimentón kick. Marinated, breaded and glazed with the same assortment of spices (read paprika to the power of three), the chicken wings were delectably sweet and spicy both in their tenderness and crunchiness. Round two: Baked oysters with chorizo & Queso Fresco, and the Gambas, which you will guess by their color, also a la pimentón ;). Juicy, with a crunchy pop, the Gambas were colossal. And so were the oysters. They delivered on their promise: a firm and slippery texture drenched in a creamy sea of fatty spicy chorizo bites and fresh cheese.
Pretty content by then, K and I were considering sharing a dessert as the most reasonable thing to do. But then Heidi came by and unrolled the most mouthwatering description of the house’s Sticky Toffee Pudding and the other new creation of the day, le cream pie. So naturally, we ended up with two (enormous) plates of sweets… of which nothing was left behind (all of you – beware of Heidi!). K took over the Pudding and its ice cream despite being lactose intolerant (that’s how good it was), but I think the pie is by far the dessert that won it all. Made with white chocolate and bananas on a bed of crumbled biscuits and walnuts – the custard cream was decadently light and fluffy.
Little did we notice how much we enjoyed la Brasserie Centrale until we realize how long we’d stayed. What was supposed to be a quick catch-up turned into three hours of great food and memory recalls. All to say, Brasserie Centrale is a lovely gem to meet an old friend. Go to catch up or go with your family. Go with your grandma or go with your imaginary friend. Whomever you end up going with, just make sure you go.