At what point in a relationship is it acceptable to tell ‘someone’ you love them?
I may have had just four dates with The French (since Simon Rogan took over) but I think I’m ready to declare my love for her.
Her sister (L’Enclume) and I, go way back – so when I first heard she was moving to Manchester I was very excited to see what she’d be like and how she’d light up the city.
The first date, was a ‘blind date’ - I was invited to a preview (she paid) and I did not know what to expect. This went well - she was beautiful. I felt as though it was love at first sight but, without wanting to look like a fool rushing in, deemed it too early to shout this from the rooftops (here).
Our second date (here), went even more smoothly: I got to know her really well; appreciate her beauty and discovered she could cook too! Although, I did think I had perhaps messed things up by talking too much about football.
My third date, and we were able to spend our first time alone (here). The week before I went to meet more of her family and even visited the farm where to discover more about her roots. By this time I was really starting to fall head over heels, so I put the brakes on and for the past couple of months continued to see ‘others’.
|Spring radish, grape oil, nutmeg mayonnaise, barley|
Not being able to shake her from my mind, I started to get jealous when I saw other people on twitter and other bloggers also sharing good times with her – I knew I had it bad… it must be the real thing.
|Mussels, edible shell, sea weed wafers|
I sought advice on the Internet (from WikiHow.com) and discovered seven steps explaining ‘How to Know if You Are Truly in Love’
|Parsnip, pork belly, smoked eel|
One: Does being around the person you love make you happy? If you truly love someone, then being around them should make you happy. You'll want to be near them more than anything, and you will want to spend a lot of your time with them.
The French certainly does make me happy; the room, the service, the food are all wonderful. No other restaurant in Manchester has the same allure - I wish I could eat there every day
|Beetroot, goat's cheese, salted hazelnuts, apple marigold|
Two: Would you give anything for that person to be happy? If you're really in love, then the happiness and well being of that special person should be top priority. You would give anything for them to be safe and happy. You'll want to give them the best life you could.
|Razor clams, egg yolk, celeriac, sea herbs|
The happiness and well being of The French is very important to me – on a daily basis I recommend her to someone as the best Manchester has to offer.
|Boiled sole, onions, truffle, alliums|
Three: Appearances aren't everything. You care about a person for more than just their looks or body. If you truly love them then you will also care about their feelings, their goals, their hopes and dreams and fears. You care about their happiness and well being.
|Oc in coal oil, pumpkin seed, kohlrabi, sunflower shoots|
The ‘body’ of The French may be over one hundred years old but its sensual curves are still as sexy as ever and would knock spots of Nicki Minaj, J-Lo and a colony of Kardashians combined. The recent makeover has taken years off her – a bit of slap and some bling (in the shape of glittering spherical chandeliers) have worked wonders. I can even forgive the fashion faux pas of the carpet.
|Fresh crab, caramelised cabbage, horseradish, chicken skin, crow garlic|
But, it’s not just about looks – I do care about The French’s well being – it makes me happy when I see Tweets praising her; when I see her fully booked. I like it when I see she has a new dish – a new little string to her bow.
|Spring offerings: vegetables, herbs, flowers, lovage salt|
Most of all, I care about her goals, hopes and dreams – a Michelin star for her in the autumn will be a well-deserved crowning glory.
|Hake fillet, buckwheat, cresses, smoked roe butter|
Four: You'd do anything for that person. You'd go to the ends of the earth for them. If they were upset then you would try to go to them to comfort them. You would let them yell at you, cry to you, hold you, and comfort them. You wouldn't let anyone hurt them. You'd fight tooth and nail for them. You might even be willing to die for them.
Maybe I am taking this analogy too far?
|Reg's duck, ruby chard, king oysters, mulled cider, nasturtiums|
Five: When you think of them, you think 'perfection'. It's hard, or maybe even impossible for you to find flaw with them. You think they are the most amazing person in the world.
|Chamomile ice cream, Cheshire rhubarb, toasted honey oats, Douglas fir syrup|
‘Perfection’ is a pretty bold word but its certainly is hard for me to find fault with The French. For it’s history, for it’s food and what it means to the city I genuinely think it’s one of my favourite places to eat in the world.
|Pear - poached, puree & snow, meadowsweet, rye, buttermilk, linseeds|
Six: You'd stick with them through thick and thin. You'd rather have bad times with them than good times with another. You'd rather sit through a storm with them than be warm and safe by yourself. No matter how badly it may hurt, you'll stay by their side.
I know she wouldn’t let me down – I can’t even imagine a bad time with her.
|Sass 'n' soda|
Seven: You'll promise them forever. You would be willing to stay with this person forever. You'd never leave them and try to never hurt them. You'd tell them you love them at every opportunity. You'd tell them that they were beautiful/gorgeous whenever you could. You'd make sure that they knew exactly how much you love them.
Forever is a long time but The French has already been around for 110 years. She is beautiful; she is gorgeous… I love her.