| | |

Special Feature: PDDN

Everyone loves a good acronym and in February I coined a new one. Admittedly PDDN is not as catchy as ATM, LBD, LOL or any of the other TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) which have so sneakily invaded our everyday speech; no longer being used ironically but as words in their own right – who’s guilty of “lolling”? Don’t worry, I won’t rant about text speak destroying the English language at this point in time, I think the change is fascinating even if I do wince when, OMG someone manages to use multiple abbrevs and TLAs in one totes LOL-tastic sentence…too obvi? Soz.

I digress. Back to my new acronym: PDDN, or for the more traditional, Pay Day Date Night.

Friday is nearly everyone’s favourite day of the week; it has all the potential of the weekend whilst the looming threat of Monday morning is still a thing of the distant future. Whilst some might plump for Saturday’s lie in making it the best day, I think it is safe to say that payday wins best day of the month, hands down. So when these two marvellous 24hour windows of our lives coincide it is an excuse, nay an obligation to celebrate. February was one such month. On Friday the 15th, after a very boring week of entrance exams I arranged to meet a friend after school to celebrate the happy occasion; halfway through a bottle of wine the tradition, phrase and subsequent acronym, Pay Day Date Night (PDDN) was born.

We began the evening at Osaka’s National Museum of Art. On Fridays the museum keeps its doors open till 7pm and, once you’ve admired the impressive structure hiding the entrance way, you can descend into the galleries and while away the time until dinner. We perused the “What We See” exhibition (runs until 24th March, 850yen), a collection of ten video installations by international artists, including two from Japan. This special exhibition uses the moving image to explore the boundaries between fiction and reality in an increasingly globalised and image focused society. I don’t claim to know anything about art, but it was an interesting experience, my personal highlight being Finnish video artist Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s “The Annunciation”.

Suitably cultured-out, we left the museum and decided to look for a restaurant on our way back to Yodoyabashi subway station instead of returning to old haunts near Umeda. It was the best decision we could have made. Tucked back from the main street we discovered a veritable treasure trove of European cuisine. We were turned away from two restaurants which were full (always a good sign) but, determined not to be put off by the lack of pictures on the menu, we arrived at Santa Lucia. Situated in a cutesy corner building, you step through the front door and almost fall into the huge pizza oven. The proprietor is a silver haired Italian fox who amicably shouts at the chefs in a mind-bending melange of Japanese and Italian. Although the restaurant was busy, our Italian stallion was only too pleased to seat us when I tried a few words of my rusty Italian (he also speaks Japanese and English). The staircase to the first floor is so narrow and steep it’s practically a ladder, and the upstairs dining area is barely more than a corridor above the kitchen, but this just added to the atmosphere created by low lighting, candles, Italian mosaics, embroidered napkins from Naples, the staff whispering that the foreign girl could speak Italian (it seems all the staff do to some extent) and bottles of Italian wine covering every available surface. A nice balance of couples and small groups meant the room was cheerful, but not overloud.

And the food? As restaurant critics Cherie and I probably don’t make the best duo as we both opted for the same dish, but we spied on everyone else’s food enough to make up for it. As we waited we were presented with a sampler plate of beautifully salted foccaccia to stop us ogling at the tantalising antipasti on the table next to us. The pizzas also looked excellent, with just the right cheese to topping ratio and a thin crust with bubbling edges; I will definitely be trying one next time. Our own linguine frutti di mare was divine. It came served on long oval dishes, beautifully presented with cherry tomatoes adding a splash of colour to the simple and classic garlicky pasta and shellfish combination. Boldly, I will say that it is the most authentic Italian pasta dish I’ve had since I lived in Turin. The meal was made perfect accompanied by a pleasant and perfectly chilled bottle of Gavi and followed by a tiramisu (rumoured to originate from brothels where it was served to fortify clients) which was made with very good, if slightly too much, coffee.

I write this salivating and already excited for the next PDDN which, fortunately for me, is March. Make sure you celebrate your doubly delicious Friday 15th. I’m tempted to return to Santa Lucia (booking on Friday is recommended) or to meander around the Nishi-ku area and try something new. Two PDDN’s in two months; the perfect start to spring.

Santa Lucia (8mins from Yodoyabashi subway station)


(Pizzas start at 1575円, pasta 1375円)

Website for the National Museum: http://www.nmao.go.jp/en/index.html

(Pictures Cherie Pham)

Similar Posts