I’m not very good at talking to strangers when I travel. I never make eye contact: the mixture of crippling shyness, the caution of a single female traveller and a desire not to get stuck with the travelling bore, of whom there are plenty kicking around, generally serves to make me bulletproof unapproachable.
On Saturday, writing letters in the sunshine on a lounger by the chic pool of the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, a guest did manage to catch my eye and get me to chat. The subsequent interesting conversation was a salutary reminder that not all the people one comes across when travelling are to be avoided.
Much of that conversation took place at Culina, the hotel’s fairly new restaurant, where I had a reservation for lunch.
The main room is elegant and calm, but for me the appeal lies just beyond in its pretty but sophisticated outdoor garden area, where a water wall burbles away in the background, and trees cast a shade over a comfortable terrace.
The menu reads like a rollcall of everything deliciously Italian you’d think of eating. There’s LA’s only crudo bar, and excellent pizza too.
I ate very good garganelli with grated ricotta salata and an aubergine (eggplant) and tomato sauce,
along with a half serving of the very good Culina chopped salad, crunchy and chewy with radicchio and farro and carrots.
If I had known my dining companion better I would have liberated some of the mushroom and goats cheese pizza (above), which looked delectable. Unfortunately I feel I have to pretend to have table manners in the presence of strangers.
I’m not really a pudding person but the two small scoops of chocolate gelato I had to accompany my Americano were textbook accurate.
(And I loved that they served my Americano as an espresso, with a pot of hot water for me to dilute the coffee to my preferred strength, which no restaurant ever bothers to do, Now that’s what I call thoughtful service. Speaking of which the service from server to busboy was uniformly excellent, attentive and charming without being oleaginous or hover-y.)
There was also a vat of cappuccino for my lunch partner which was so vast I felt it should have had a couple of swans floating across the surface:
LLG was a guest of the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills