We invariably share our dishes - not because as the Sock once romantically suggested that if we got food-poisoning we would both die together (this theory didn’t work with the shared Plateau de fruits de mer when the Bedsock got the duff oyster and was incredibly ill). It is because by sharing nobody misses out if one dish turns out to be somewhat better than the other. It also gives us chance to be more adventurous and whilst in France one might have a safe option of Lapin à la moutarde the other can try out a Fromage de tête de veau knowing that if it is truly vile we will both still get half a decent meal. Luckily both of us know never to order andouillettes as there would be a distinct possibility that the plate swap would be off.
It was with plate swapping in mind that when lunching at Zilli’s we started with a shared Calamari Fritti Serviti con Salsa di Maionese e Basilico and then ordered a Spaghetti all’ Aragosta (lobster spaghetti pictured) and Filetto di Tonno con Caponata Siciliana, Capperi e Olive for mains. Zilli himself served us and admonished that the lobster was so good we would not want to share it!! For a moment we froze... and I knew that the Bedsock was remembering the “Lobster Incident”.
Many years ago we stopped for lunch at the Walnut Tree Inn near Abergavenny which was run by the Bedsock’s first food hero Franco Taruschio. After a fabulous starter of vincisgrassi (a pasta dough filled with porcini, parma ham and topped with shavings of truffles) our mains were a Brodetto and a Spaghetti con sugo di Arogosta . The Sock had the lobster first. It was divine, there was a more than generous portion of sweet and succulent welsh lobster topping the sauce coated spaghetti. The Sock devoured her half and then swapped plates with the Bedsock leaving him to finish the remaining ................... spaghetti. The Sock, in the belief that there was plenty more lobster hiding under the spaghetti, had inadvertently eaten the lot!
The crumpled face of disappointment on the Bedsock was heart-breaking to see. Nothing the Sock could say or do could make it up and it was clear the Bedsock believed she had done it on purpose. It became known as “The Lobster Incident” and the guilt of it has stayed with the Sock over the years. In future she would err on the side of generosity and always ensure she ate less than half of each swapped plate leaving the Bedsock the best bit!
Aldo Zilli’s lobster spag was also delicious as was the rest of the meal and it is good to find that at last there is a decent Italian restaurant in Brighton.