Welcome to the very first instalment of our dating A-Z!
For the letter 'A', Frank and I decided to try out a restaurant tucked away in the back streets of central London, called Archipelago.
What's it about?
Archipelago challenges its diners to 'explore the exotic', from seared zebra and spiced bison steak to baked tilapia fish and wok-seared frog's legs, there's something here to challenge every palette.
Sally - fine dining meets Crocodile Dundee perhaps? As long as I'm not expected to hunt and kill my own dinner, I figure I'll survive. Feeling very dubious about crunching on locusts though...
Frank - the prospect of eating all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures from across the world intrigues me. I'm well up for it.
Sally - as we stalked into the restaurant, I felt like an African explorer, marvelling at the kooky decor: a hodgepodge of peacock feathers, wicker bird cages and African masks. Enthroned on an enormous chair of cushions, I felt quite the princess. There's certainly a lot to see.
Frank - eccentric décor and furniture, including a slightly over the top throne that Sally immediately leapt into. I liked it!
What we went for
In order to get a good feel for the place, Frank and I chose the tasting platter which included:
- African crocodile bites
- Australian spicy kangaroo
- Alpaca Ropa Vieja
- Manouri cheese, basil and pinenut parcel
- Japanese noodles with sour green mango
- Toasted turmeric and coconut rice
- Cricket and locust salad (aptly named the 'Love Bug Salad')
We also rewarded ourselves with the African Sunset dessert (granadilla bavarois topped with 24-carat gold and champagne glaze).
Sally - crocodile bites! Gorgeously meaty and succulent, and delicious when dunked in sweet chilli sauce. It tasted like fishy chicken. The 24-carat pudding wasn't bad either. I could get used to eating gold...
Frank - the kangaroo put a spring in my step, and the crocodile had a lot of bite to it.
Happily go without
Sally - I was under no illusions that I'd struggle with the locusts. I managed a couple of small nibbles but the sheer look of them was just grim. They tasted of nothing except crunch. I wasn't too fussed about the alpaca either, but that could be because of the shredded texture.
Frank - the locust salad. A bit too crunchy and, well, locusty. But when in Rome….
It makes me want to…
Sally - visit bizarres the world over to collect weird and wonderful artefacts for my home. I wouldn't mind throwing in an adventure or two while I'm at it.
Frank - put on one of those funny hats on with corks hanging off them.
In a nutshell
Sally - overall Archipelago was fun, intimate and a great talking point. There was so much to see and discover. The food itself was well cooked and in good sized portions. The menu is rarely altered though, and the service was distinctly patchy. Overall a unique and fascinating experience, but you're definitely paying for the exotic element of your meal.
Frank - I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here comes to London.
Win or fail?
Sally - win. I'd give Archipelago a respectable 3/5. Definitely one to frequent on occasion, and first-time visitors will love it. I probably wouldn't make it a regular occurrence though, largely due to the static menu.
Frank - win (4/5). Definitely something a bit quirky and different, which I’d recommend to anyone who isn’t afraid to try unusual cuisine.
Other options we considered
Archery, axe-grinding, appearing in the background on TV or amateur radio.