A few weeks ago, I met up with the gorgeous Miho for dinner at a house party...of sorts.
We huddled under an umbrella in the freezing February rain outside an unassuming yellow door outside Notting Hill Gate tube station, waiting to be let in.
The hosts had apparently mixed up their dates, but after a few minutes of conferring they allowed us in anyway.
We climbed a vertiginous flight of stairs, deposited our coats and dripping brollies at the door and entered the apartment.
If you're a blogger or a blog-reader, you'll almost certainly have heard of The Little Yellow Door and its concept. If not, I'll fill you in. This pop-up opens its doors on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays to any friendly revellers keen to hang out at 'the flat' alongside the 'flatmates' - fellow sufferers of Generation Rent who just love throwing house parties. Their newest flatmate, Luigi, hails from Naples, and he's partial to cooking up a full-fledged Italian feast.
Miho and I, being lovers of Italian food (obviously!) couldn't wait.
We were first to the party (oops) so had the chance to wander around the space taking photos before any other guests turned up. The flat has a charmingly quirky vibe, furnished with mismatched cushions, little Lego models, 90s CDs and DVDs, questionable art pieces and a sofa upholstered in cow hide.
We broke the ice with a couple of punch-like drinks - sweet and not too strong - and sat down at a coffee table to sip them and chat as the other guests arrived. We opted to stay at our little table, which Miho nicknamed the marriage table, because we were isolated from the rest of the room in our little romantic bubble, rather than sit at the communal tables. Anti-social, yes, but let me tell you why this was a good call: 1) The dinner consisted of sharing plates and so we didn't have to share with lots of people we didn't know. 2) We weren't squashed in on the benches - instead, we had complete freedom to get up and walk to the bar or the bathroom without having to disturb hordes of other diners. And, best of all...
3) Our little coffee table had the best lighting conditions in the flat - unlike the main tables, which I hear were rather dimly lit. Bloggers 1, rubbish lighting 0.
We perused the various menus (a choice of bar cocktails can be found in the numerous magazines that litter the flat!) and ordered some red wine to go with the meat-laden courses to come.
First course: a lovely sharing platter of antipasti. Smoked beef carpaccio with a mustard dressing and capers, burrata with mint pesto, tomatoes and aubergine, and prosciutto garnished with peach, basil and almonds. Interesting flavour combinations that actually worked and were rather delicious, even though I would have preferred a slightly plumper burrata. I have high expectations of cheese...
More antipasti - mushroom and asparagus arancini nestled on a bed of truffle and porcini mayonnaise. Absolute heaven. It was at this point that I found out that Miho doesn't like mushrooms. It was almost a friendship dealbreaker - but luckily, she polished off her arancini (arancino?!) and all was forgiven.
I loved our primi course - a spiced duck ragú tagliatelle. Seriously, I could have shoved Miho out of the way and gobbled all of this down myself.
The secondi was also buonissimo - belly porchetta served with caponata, pickled baby veg, capers , sultanas and pine nuts.
The perfect amount of food for a Friday evening.
A couple of the flatmates came over to chat to us about the concept and told us about how in an ideal world, they'd love to open a few more colours of Little Doors across London - and a Little Black Door in New York. And this dude was very impressed with Miho's camera.
Dessert was served at the bars - reminiscent of the little canapés one puts out at a dinner party.
Sicilian cannelloni of sorts with pistachios, a sticky pine nut caramel tart with marsala raisins, and a fairly alcoholic-tasting chocolate and tiramisu pannacotta in a mini jar! Teeny enough to not feel too indulgent...
I made up for the tiny dolci with this gigantic fishbowl of a cocktail - recommended to me by the hosts after I expressed a penchant for gin and fruit. Honestly, I think it was about the size of my head.
Miho, meanwhile, had a much more refined-looking tazza di tè - Earl Grey-infused gin with lemon and egg white, accompanied by a Jammie Dodger. This one looked polite but had a lethal sting.
After this point the tables emptied out to create much more of a living room party vibe, the music was cranked up and more guests started arriving for Friday night dancing. Things got a little bit hazy, and a few pink-faced selfies may have been taken...
I was very pleasantly surprised by the delicious food and drinks on offer at The Little Yellow Door. You know me - I absolutely love a unique concept, and the house party one here was definitely creative enough for me to have a wonderful Friday night in excellent company. And funnily enough, I ended up right back at TLYD the very next Friday for a friend's surprise birthday party (therefore experiencing just the drinking and partying aspect of the night). Several milk and cookies cocktails later (yummy and lactose-free - win/win!) I was convinced that TLYD is perfect for those who want to have a drink with their friends in a homely location without the hassle of having to tidy up the next morning. Thank you very much for having me over twice, flatmates - I had a great time!
Disclaimer: The dinner and drinks Miho and I enjoyed at TLYD were complimentary. All opinions remain my own.