Places To Eat In Los Angeles: Gjelina, Abbot Kinney Boulevard
My birthday lunch: testing yet another hyped about restaurant on Venice’s fashionable Abbot Kinney Boulevard, discovering yet another new favourite Los Angeles eatery. I’d been saving a trip to Gjelina for a special occasion, and what better than becoming another year older? That is something to celebrate in style until I at least hit thirty, perhaps forty. But that is years off! I’d heard so much about Gjelina’s fabulous food and lovely atmosphere and unlike some other meals I’ve had over the last few days, it lived up to the hype.
While there is a dark, smokey and cool interior, we were seated out in the courtyard which suited us perfectly as it was such a beautiful day; it had a much more Mediterranean vibe than the interior. It also had great people watching and outfit coveting. I was jealous of the lovely Kate Spade dress on the woman behind me.
I know all the wine snobs out there tend to turn their nose up at rose, and only stick to red or white varieties, but for me, with good fresh food with bold flavours, in the sunshine nothing for me beats a nice chilled glass of French Cote de Provence. This glass made me miss France, where I may or may not drink it like water.
Given the option on most menus I will always order the mussels. These are the PEI Mussels with Chorizo, Confit Tomato, Chili, White Wine and Grilled Bread. I’ll talk about the mussels in a moment, but I loved the fact my bread was lightly brushed in olive oil and grilled; it gave such a different Mediterranean change to the plain French bread I usually use to soak my my moules juices. As for the mussels themselves, while I wish there could have been more of them (or am I just spoilt in France?) they were deliciously cooked with a really good balance of flavours. I was also pleasantly surprised it was chorizo sausage cooked from raw rather than cured meat; this is a dish I would order again on a hot weekday sitting out in the courtyard and a cold drink.
Evie had the Broccolini with Garlic, Chilli and Vinegar. She let me eat quite a bit of it, for which I was very grateful. Sweet, light, tender but with the perfect amount of bite I loved the fantastically tart and slightly spicy dressing and slightly charred bits on the broccolini; something that I will be ordering on the side to share on my next visit. This is coming from someone who usually hates things like broccolini. I’ve found it is all about how a vegetable is cooked. You won’t catch me eating cauliflower, though!
This blogs traditional post mussel consumption photo. For newer readers who don’t get the joke, as mussels are my all time favourite food and they are one of the local dishes of the region in France I live in, I order them there pretty much all the time. Also when I’m in France and slightly more switched off from blogging mode, pretty much all the time I also forget to photograph them until after I’ve eaten them, so my readers have been treated to photos of big bowls of empty mussel shells in French restaurants pretty much all the time!
For dessert I chose the Butterscotch Pudding served with a dollop of Creme Fraiche and Salted Caramel. It was lovely, right, creamy and indulgent; I just perhaps would have liked more salt on the salted caramel but I think that is something to do with personal taste. Obviously the candle is not usually included, unless it is your birthday of course! I promise the rest of their desserts don’t come to the table in flame!
Evie ordered the Banana and Chocolate Bread Pudding with Fresh Cream and Caramel. I can confirm from sticking my spoon in that it was just as delicious as my Butterscotch Pudding. It looks it, doesn’t it!
A few days later I also ate at Axe on Abbot Kinney, so look out for a review of that in the next few weeks. If you can’t get a table at Gjelina and you’re still looking to dine in the area, after this one (with the exception of Axe) we had some rather disappointing meals in LA, but we kept on talking about and comparing the meals to what we had had when we brunched at The Tasting Kitchen last time she visited, so I’d recommend heading there for their French Toast and cocktails.