Four Birthdays at Portofino and a Crying Child.

Seriously, what are the odds of celebrating your birthday on the same day at the same place with three other people? With mine, there were FOUR people celebrating their special days that same night!

Last Friday, December 2, had been the first significant turning point of my life. Many of my friends had already turned thirty and my birthday being the last month in the calendar meant that I was one of the few who would turn a year older. While others are preparing to celebrate Christmas and eventually New Year’s Eve, here I am celebrating my birthday.

I can’t believe I have just turned thirty, though. I remember the movie, 13 Going on 30, with Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo, Judy Greer and Andy Serkis in it. Thirty, flirty and thriving. Nope, I’m not feeling the flirty and thriving vibes. Then again, I really don’t feel like there is any difference at all.

My twenties had been a turbulent, ten-year tenure. I changed courses so many times in my early twenties that resulted in me graduating from university in my late twenties. By the time I secured my first job, I had been very far behind my peers in terms of lifetime achievements. I got married six months after securing my second job. Within the last two years before turning thirty, I had lost five jobs )and a proud owner of two mischievous cats). Sometimes, I find it hard when people say that age is just a number. All I can say is that I’m finally starting what seems to be my first real and serious job now. Which some would say could be the defining moment of the start of my career.

A couple of days before, I told my parents that I’d like to have my 30th dinner at a different restaurant this year. For many years and also because of my love for all things sushi and sashimi, I’ve been having my birthday dinners at Rakuzen, a Japanese restaurant with branches in Oasis Square (Ara Damansara), Tropicana City Mall, Sri Hartamas Shopping Centre, and Bangsar Village, to name a few. This year, I suggested having it at Portofino instead, an Italian restaurant in Lucky Garden, Bangsar. I did a food review post on it once before.

How was I to know that there had been three other bookings at that very same restaurant to celebrate their birthdays there as well? What are the odds, right? Never mind that the restaurant was packed to the brim with celebrators but there was even a table of a family of four with a crying, screaming child!

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A bright and shiny Christmas tree lit up the whole restaurant upstairs.

That night, I stayed off ordering a main course for myself because I’ve been wanting to try their pannacotta for quite some time.

My mum had always had a say in my decisions of wanting to eat creamy and fat-friendly desserts; with the conversation always leading to me gaining weight through these desserts. That night was my night and I said that I would sample a little off each person’s plate (yeah, it’s a practice within my family; more towards my mum because she doesn’t eat as much as she used to) so that I’d have space for dessert. I usually have a main course (steak, chicken or pasta) and by the time I was done, I wouldn’t be able to have desserts.

So my family all had something for themselves and my plate was passed along like a game of musical chairs, stopping only for each person to add a tasty morsel to my plate. That way, I wouldn’t waste food if I couldn’t finish and wouldn’t overeat either. By the time my plate came back to me, it was a smorgasbord of potato wedges, pieces of chicken chop, slices of steak, a forkful of spinach lasagna and some vegetable salsa.

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I also went for a glass of lychee mojito which was quite refreshing considering that it had rained that evening and the atmosphere was more chilly than usual. I couldn’t quite taste the lychee though, but the lime, mint and ice made it turn out just right.

Portofino is a great place, don’t get me wrong. If I could, I’d like to go and have my meals there once in awhile. Although, you might want to make a call to the restaurant first, especially when you are planning on celebrating an occasion. Find out from the staff if the place is crowded or fully booked. The last thing you want is to be crammed into an area so crowded you can barely hear your own thoughts! Despite the overwhelming number of people, the service remained spot-on and the waiters still managed to serve you with a smile. Now that’s what I call ‘good service‘!

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