Here comes the first instalment of a backlog of birthday meals.

My sister and I are both summer babies and born exactly two years and two weeks apart, so June/July are always good months food-wise.

Me, my mum and sister are all avid lovers of Masterchef, so when Mumma Mac suggested heading to l'Anima after seeing it on the programme, I was pretty excited.

Although not as excited as my sister when she opened her present...

I got her tickets to come and visit me in Paris and to head over to Disney while she's here, but I'll save that for another time.

Housed in the heart of Shoreditch, l'Anima is Francesco Mazzei's creation and is best described as fancy Italian. And it's so, so good.

Seeing as we were celebrating, we started with fizz...

Which was shortly followed by a basket of Italian breads with the best of olive oil.

Any restaurant that still serves bread as standard always gets a thumbs up from me.

Then came the food.

We started proceedings with the dish that made us want to visit l'Anima in the first place: the lobster and langoustine ravioli in brodo.

Five perfect pasta parcels filled to bursting with seafood, served in a crystal clear broth.

It was every bit as delicious as expected. I could have eaten troughs of the stuff.

Although I admittedly had slight food envy when a veritable haystack of fritto misto was placed in front of my dad...

Assorted fried seafood stacked high with their famous zucchini fritti.

Although l'Anima is, obviously, all about the food, the service was really exceptional.

We seemed to have about four waiters looking after us and they struck the perfect balance between absent and intrusive.

Soon after our very much empty starter plates were whisked away, our mains arrived in a flurry.

I have to say that the birthday girl made the best choice main-wise:

The most beautiful pink steak tagliata with creamy, cheesy mash, shallots, bone marrow and the glossiest red wine jus.

I went for the grilled tuna and was pretty happy when two giant steaks arrived on my plate.

With an overflowing bowl of matchstick thin courgette fries on the side, naturally.

True to form, my dad went for the liver and bacon.

While my mum chose the very pretty brill with broad beans.

Even though mains are, by default, the main event, it's always pudding that I look forward to the most.

The girls of the family have a bit of a tradition when it comes to puds. 

We choose three from the menu and share. 

This way there's no pudding FOMO, which is pretty much as bad as it gets.

First up, the chocolate dome.

Layers of chocolate cake and ice cream encased in a chocolate dome that cracks when doused with hot salted caramel.

Similar to my beloved Jackson & Rye pudding, but so, so much better.

Obviously the tiramisu was my choice, seeing as it is my number one dessert in the whole world.

And the award for the prettiest pud went to my mum's lemon tart with cherry sorbet, served with teeny tiny meringues.

After this point I put my camera away but the bill came with a plate of salted caramel chocolates that I'm pretty sure they got from Black Sugar, and they were quite literally some of the best chocs I've ever had in my life, and I'm not exaggerating here.

I cannot recommend l'Anima enough. 

It's definitely a place for a celebration or a big treat, but it is undeniably worth it.

The staff are as friendly as they are professional and despite it's location, we didn't feel like we were entirely surrounded by boring business lunches, which is always nice. 

And the food speaks for itself. If I had to pick my top five favourite restaurants of all time, this would almost definitely make it on the list.

Website here.