The Bunch Of Grapes ( London Bridge ) + Other Reasons To Be Beer – Full!

Bunch Of Grapes ( nr The Shard ) + Other Reasons 2 Be Beer-full!
What’s in a pub? What draws us to it? Why do so many of us find solace in a pint glass and a friendly face? For some it’s the atmosphere. For others it’s a safe haven of what they know. I’m sure there is the odd fellow out there who frequents a particular bar because the barmaids are prettier in his local as opposed to the one 200yds down the road. Sometimes it can be the particular brand of beer or the food served up. For example, I have one particular friend who refuses to go into a pub if they don’t have his beer of choice on tap. He’s a fan of Stella Artories ( as Micky Flanagan would call it ) and many a ale house has been excluded from a day out in the country if the “wife beater” isn’t available. Not that he beats his wife of course. He hasn’t even got a wife. Then again maybe it’s because he drinks Stella he hasn’t got married. Well there’s a vicious circle!
It could be any number of things, The obvious one being alcohol of course. Take my local pub, The Traitors Gate. It’s going through a bit of a transitional phase at the moment. For a start, a paint job, it’s the brightest pub on the Riviera, and it isn’t due to the intelligence of a quiz team. fresh new beers on tap albeit at fresh new prices, and a reputation for good live music. The Traitors also brew their own beer. Deverells Darkside is my pick of the bunch, plus they have one pump solely for Mighty Oak and various guest beers which are well chosen. Colchester – Brazilian is a personal standout I remember or maybe it’s more that someone reminded me the following day but anyway, let’s move on. . I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad Mighty Oak real ale either and there is a few to choose from. A tip top brewery.
 It’s a simple fact that as a publican you just cannot afford to stand still. The biggest problem is breaking from its traditional shackles and developing itself into this new venue for the hottest new local talent, while remaining true to its real ale roots and regular customers. I drink there as often as life affords me, because barring the very rare occasion its trouble – free, ( I’m under the safe – haven banner ), and I know enough people in there if it becomes troublesome. 
For reasons that are self explanatory, another of my favourite watering holes is The Woodbine Pub in Highbury. As an Arsenal fan, it’s an ideal meeting point to congregate with friends, talk rubbish and have a couple of beers. They do have a massive selection of beverages to choose from as well. If you like your real ales it’s a winner. The fact that it’s clean and tidy helps. Far enough to be away from MOST of the madding crowd, however only a 10 minute walk from the ground. A win double to rank alongside Torvill and Dean I say. If you are ever at a loose end and want to read about The Arsenal, check out the blog StubbysTours on WordPress. He introduced me to the next pub funnily enough before an Arsenal home match. 
The public house in question is The Harp in Chandos Place, ( Covent Garden ). Not only do they have a vast array of beers on draught but they have terrific guest brews from all over the place. The best thing about The Harp though is the Sausages. It’s their gimmick if that’s the correct word. They specialise in a tremendous sausage roll. A variation of flavours makes The Harp the place to go when in and around the west end for a pint and a porky roll. It’s also a real drinkers pub. No music or jukebox.. Just beer and conversation.
For reasons of trying to keep this blog short others that are worth a mention are:

The Bargemans Rest – Newport ( Isle of Wight ) nice setting, nice beer, it’s our recovery pub when at the IOW festival. It also does plates of food the size of a house!.. It serves fuggle – Dee – dum which is an island brew.
The King Lud – Ryde ( also on IOW ). I’m not exaggerating when I say this pub has the most bizarre and eclectic customers. The live entertainment can be anything from the weird and wacky to seriously good rock music. They do serve a fair pint of Guinness as well. If you think you’ve seen everything, spend a night in The King Lud.
The Hoop – Stock, Essex. I’ve only ever been here twice. Incredible beer garden. Lovely food, attentive bar staff. Nice drop of Doombar as well. 
The Grapes – Limehouse. It’s on the river. It’s very old fashioned. Very welcoming and if you are lucky enough to get out on the balcony, you can sit whiling away your day while the Thames crashes into the wall literally below your feet. In fact on a bad day you might end up with wet feet. A terrific pub. Little fact for you. The leaseholder is actor Ian McKellen.
That leaves me with my favourite 3 pubs, ( I’m not including my local ).
As they would say on X Factor in no particular order.
The Black Lion – Plaistow. Now I’m slightly biased in naming this pub because I know the lovely lady who runs it and her equally fantastic daughter ( just don’t let her mention the board game “Frustration” ), who also works there. However it’s difficult to deny that in general most of my friends who have visited this establishment get exactly the same treatment. A smiling face and all encompassing welcome. They serve a decent pint and if you are very lucky you might even get a seat. We tend to visit on match days though when going to West Ham so it’s fairly busy. Friendly banter before and after the game is most definitely the order of the day at TBL.

The Gun, Docklands. – I’m not really sure how we ended up going to The Gun the first time, but I’m happier than a cat playing with a solitaire set made of marbles that I did. The food is lovely. There is plenty of room, regardless of whether you want to sit in the sun overlooking the River Thames, sit by the roaring fire which is cracking in winter, or do what we do… Wait till it’s freezing outside, get a wine ( ideally mulled ) and sit outside anyway. They also have a few nights in December with people singing Christmas carols which after a bit of grub is a songtacular way to spend a Saturday evening. 
In an ideal world I would live in one of those houses as tons throw from The Gun. This would be my pub to stroll to on a Sunday. Have a read of the free broad sheets offered, ( Ok, the Mirror or The Times if it’s for the magazines ), a Bloody Mary for GB and a pint for moi, then to finish off, a blinding Sunday roast. The Gun delivers on all 3 fronts and is just a proper feel good cosy pub. The Gun also has the odd cinema evening showing a movie in their function garden/terrace. They also do a bit of foodie fun like the “Slider – Decider”. We were present this year when a lot of top chefs went up against each other for the ultimate slider. It was a very good evening with lots of decent food on offer, plus your music and cocktails, beers etc.. A feelgood pub of the highest order.
Finally we have The Bunch Of Grapes, ( it must be that I have a thing about a pub with grapes in the title ). The rub – a – dub – dub in question is a stones throw from The Shard, next to London Bridge Tube. Takes me less than an hour to get there from the Thurrock Riviera. It’s also opposite Borough Market so there is plenty in the area to do before quaffing a few sherbets. TBOG has a small area out the front for smokers and a nice open multi – levelled seating area out the back for when the sun decides to make an appearance. It’s not huge but there is plenty of tables if you get lucky with the weather. 
One thing this ale house does have in abundance is atmosphere. Yes it is in a tourist trap, so you do get the odd shouty American telling tales of NYC being the best city in the world but ignoring that, the whole mindset of the pub is positive with a capital P. In fact it’s that upbeat it should have two P’s. The background music, played at a high enough level to hear and low enough to hear yourself speak is a good choice of anything from Oasis to James Brown. TBOG smothers itself in the feelgood factor like a doughnut surrounds itself in sugar. 
The decor is cosy enough and they sell Meantime beers which gets a thumbs up from this blogger. The choice on offer if you don’t happen to like MT however is substantial enough for you to not have to worry. The staff that serve you ( or at least have served me ) have always been friendly and helpful and will strike up a chat when they aren’t too busy. One thing I do like is that it never takes an hour to get a drink like in some watering holes. There are normally plenty of staff behind the ramp. 
The other thing about TBOG is the food. Recently I had one of their burgers. I guess I was expecting a bog standard pub burger but I have to say it went far beyond that. It was a big thick piece of meat, with bacon, cooked to perfection inside a lovely brioche type bun. Absolutely doodley! ( that’s not a proper word is it ).

The onion rings, purchased separately were the size of a Krispy Kreme doughnut. Proper old school onion rings. Along with fries the whole thing went down like a building full of dynamite. Quick and easy. It’s so easy to criticise the majority of places for their outlook on food being easy money but I think you get what you pay for at TBOG. The menu does have a nice variety to it as well, so get yourselves down there. It’s not the cheapest pub in the world, but consider where you are and you certainly aren’t being had over price wise.
Right that’s it. Reasons to be beer-full, 1,2,3.
See you fish ‘n’ tater.

The Bunch Of Grapes ( London Bridge ) + Other Reasons To Be Beer – Full!

Bunch Of Grapes ( nr The Shard ) + Other Reasons 2 Be Beer-full!
What’s in a pub? What draws us to it? Why do so many of us find solace in a pint glass and a friendly face? For some it’s the atmosphere. For others it’s a safe haven of what they know. I’m sure there is the odd fellow out there who frequents a particular bar because the barmaids are prettier in his local as opposed to the one 200yds down the road. Sometimes it can be the particular brand of beer or the food served up. For example, I have one particular friend who refuses to go into a pub if they don’t have his beer of choice on tap. He’s a fan of Stella Artories ( as Micky Flanagan would call it ) and many a ale house has been excluded from a day out in the country if the “wife beater” isn’t available. Not that he beats his wife of course. He hasn’t even got a wife. Then again maybe it’s because he drinks Stella he hasn’t got married. Well there’s a vicious circle!
It could be any number of things, The obvious one being alcohol of course. Take my local pub, The Traitors Gate. It’s going through a bit of a transitional phase at the moment. For a start, a paint job, it’s the brightest pub on the Riviera, and it isn’t due to the intelligence of a quiz team. fresh new beers on tap albeit at fresh new prices, and a reputation for good live music. The Traitors also brew their own beer. Deverells Darkside is my pick of the bunch, plus they have one pump solely for Mighty Oak and various guest beers which are well chosen. Colchester – Brazilian is a personal standout I remember or maybe it’s more that someone reminded me the following day but anyway, let’s move on. . I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad Mighty Oak real ale either and there is a few to choose from. A tip top brewery.
 It’s a simple fact that as a publican you just cannot afford to stand still. The biggest problem is breaking from its traditional shackles and developing itself into this new venue for the hottest new local talent, while remaining true to its real ale roots and regular customers. I drink there as often as life affords me, because barring the very rare occasion its trouble – free, ( I’m under the safe – haven banner ), and I know enough people in there if it becomes troublesome. 
For reasons that are self explanatory, another of my favourite watering holes is The Woodbine Pub in Highbury. As an Arsenal fan, it’s an ideal meeting point to congregate with friends, talk rubbish and have a couple of beers. They do have a massive selection of beverages to choose from as well. If you like your real ales it’s a winner. The fact that it’s clean and tidy helps. Far enough to be away from MOST of the madding crowd, however only a 10 minute walk from the ground. A win double to rank alongside Torvill and Dean I say. If you are ever at a loose end and want to read about The Arsenal, check out the blog StubbysTours on WordPress. He introduced me to the next pub funnily enough before an Arsenal home match. 
The public house in question is The Harp in Chandos Place, ( Covent Garden ). Not only do they have a vast array of beers on draught but they have terrific guest brews from all over the place. The best thing about The Harp though is the Sausages. It’s their gimmick if that’s the correct word. They specialise in a tremendous sausage roll. A variation of flavours makes The Harp the place to go when in and around the west end for a pint and a porky roll. It’s also a real drinkers pub. No music or jukebox.. Just beer and conversation.
For reasons of trying to keep this blog short others that are worth a mention are:

The Bargemans Rest – Newport ( Isle of Wight ) nice setting, nice beer, it’s our recovery pub when at the IOW festival. It also does plates of food the size of a house!.. It serves fuggle – Dee – dum which is an island brew.
The King Lud – Ryde ( also on IOW ). I’m not exaggerating when I say this pub has the most bizarre and eclectic customers. The live entertainment can be anything from the weird and wacky to seriously good rock music. They do serve a fair pint of Guinness as well. If you think you’ve seen everything, spend a night in The King Lud.
The Hoop – Stock, Essex. I’ve only ever been here twice. Incredible beer garden. Lovely food, attentive bar staff. Nice drop of Doombar as well. 
The Grapes – Limehouse. It’s on the river. It’s very old fashioned. Very welcoming and if you are lucky enough to get out on the balcony, you can sit whiling away your day while the Thames crashes into the wall literally below your feet. In fact on a bad day you might end up with wet feet. A terrific pub. Little fact for you. The leaseholder is actor Ian McKellen.
That leaves me with my favourite 3 pubs, ( I’m not including my local ).
As they would say on X Factor in no particular order.
The Black Lion – Plaistow. Now I’m slightly biased in naming this pub because I know the lovely lady who runs it and her equally fantastic daughter ( just don’t let her mention the board game “Frustration” ), who also works there. However it’s difficult to deny that in general most of my friends who have visited this establishment get exactly the same treatment. A smiling face and all encompassing welcome. They serve a decent pint and if you are very lucky you might even get a seat. We tend to visit on match days though when going to West Ham so it’s fairly busy. Friendly banter before and after the game is most definitely the order of the day at TBL.

The Gun, Docklands. – I’m not really sure how we ended up going to The Gun the first time, but I’m happier than a cat playing with a solitaire set made of marbles that I did. The food is lovely. There is plenty of room, regardless of whether you want to sit in the sun overlooking the River Thames, sit by the roaring fire which is cracking in winter, or do what we do… Wait till it’s freezing outside, get a wine ( ideally mulled ) and sit outside anyway. They also have a few nights in December with people singing Christmas carols which after a bit of grub is a songtacular way to spend a Saturday evening. 
In an ideal world I would live in one of those houses as tons throw from The Gun. This would be my pub to stroll to on a Sunday. Have a read of the free broad sheets offered, ( Ok, the Mirror or The Times if it’s for the magazines ), a Bloody Mary for GB and a pint for moi, then to finish off, a blinding Sunday roast. The Gun delivers on all 3 fronts and is just a proper feel good cosy pub. The Gun also has the odd cinema evening showing a movie in their function garden/terrace. They also do a bit of foodie fun like the “Slider – Decider”. We were present this year when a lot of top chefs went up against each other for the ultimate slider. It was a very good evening with lots of decent food on offer, plus your music and cocktails, beers etc.. A feelgood pub of the highest order.
Finally we have The Bunch Of Grapes, ( it must be that I have a thing about a pub with grapes in the title ). The rub – a – dub – dub in question is a stones throw from The Shard, next to London Bridge Tube. Takes me less than an hour to get there from the Thurrock Riviera. It’s also opposite Borough Market so there is plenty in the area to do before quaffing a few sherbets. TBOG has a small area out the front for smokers and a nice open multi – levelled seating area out the back for when the sun decides to make an appearance. It’s not huge but there is plenty of tables if you get lucky with the weather. 
One thing this ale house does have in abundance is atmosphere. Yes it is in a tourist trap, so you do get the odd shouty American telling tales of NYC being the best city in the world but ignoring that, the whole mindset of the pub is positive with a capital P. In fact it’s that upbeat it should have two P’s. The background music, played at a high enough level to hear and low enough to hear yourself speak is a good choice of anything from Oasis to James Brown. TBOG smothers itself in the feelgood factor like a doughnut surrounds itself in sugar. 
The decor is cosy enough and they sell Meantime beers which gets a thumbs up from this blogger. The choice on offer if you don’t happen to like MT however is substantial enough for you to not have to worry. The staff that serve you ( or at least have served me ) have always been friendly and helpful and will strike up a chat when they aren’t too busy. One thing I do like is that it never takes an hour to get a drink like in some watering holes. There are normally plenty of staff behind the ramp. 
The other thing about TBOG is the food. Recently I had one of their burgers. I guess I was expecting a bog standard pub burger but I have to say it went far beyond that. It was a big thick piece of meat, with bacon, cooked to perfection inside a lovely brioche type bun. Absolutely doodley! ( that’s not a proper word is it ).

The onion rings, purchased separately were the size of a Krispy Kreme doughnut. Proper old school onion rings. Along with fries the whole thing went down like a building full of dynamite. Quick and easy. It’s so easy to criticise the majority of places for their outlook on food being easy money but I think you get what you pay for at TBOG. The menu does have a nice variety to it as well, so get yourselves down there. It’s not the cheapest pub in the world, but consider where you are and you certainly aren’t being had over price wise.
Right that’s it. Reasons to be beer-full, 1,2,3.
See you fish ‘n’ tater.

10 Dining ( the restaurant, there wasn’t 10 of us )

10 Dining Street.
Like most people I love Indian food. The fact I enjoy it so much is all down to one man, and one dish. I am not going to try and pretend I am the font of all knowledge when it comes to individual dishes or spices. I’m not sure I could tell you the difference between Caraway seeds and Cardamom seeds. At one stage I thought a particular famous chef had an ingredient named after her. It turns out the Nigella seed is nothing to do with the voluptuous cook in question, but it is an onion seed mainly used in breads, and more extensively in the east of India to season fish plates. Allegedly that chef in question is more partial to herbs than spices anyway. Too much? … Sorry, couldn’t resist.
I was 14 or 15 when I sampled Asian cuisine properly for the 1st time. It was in a small town in Essex called Upminster. My brother took me. He had been raving about it for years. The Taj Mahal was the name of the restaurant. When this illuminated red concoction confronted me it frightened me to death. I might be wrong but I believe my brother was going through a Madras/Vindaloo stage at the time. 
It not only looked disgusting but Christ on a bike was it hot!… After eating two forkfuls and drinking enough water to put out the raging fire that was my mouth I declared that Asian food was most definitely not for this kiddie. For the next four or five years I avoided visiting curry houses. It just didn’t tingle my tastebuds, more to the point it didn’t just tingle them it tore a strip off of them.
Moving on then and my next trip for a ruby. It was while out visiting what myself and GB assumed to be an unwell relative. “Uncle Dave” as he was affectionately known, although he had no family ties had just had a triple heart by – pass. Our first spin up to Whitechapel hospital, one day after this operation had seen him with tubes everywhere. Returning less than a week later however, Uncle D was up dressed and more importantly being killed by boredom. Delighted to see us he suggested we go for a walk. Of course what I, or we, didn’t expect was Uncle Dave using us as a ruse to firstly get his hands on a snout ( that’s a cigarette for you guys/gals not from these parts ), and secondly his insistence that we go for a Ruby in the Curry Mile of Brick Lane. Needless to say my first experience of these spicy foods was enough to make me go for the extremely narrow – minded omelette and chips, while GB and UD dived in to the pillar box red Masala and Vindaloo courtesy of the nearby Tandoori. Oh yeah, living the dream!… What’s that you say? Blocked arteries, triple by – pass, a Chicken Vindaloo. It’s recommended all the way down from the top by the NHS. It’s not, I made that bit up of course but I wasn’t going to try and talk UD out of his Ruby, he was bigger than me!
The term Ruby Murray meaning curry, is a rhyming slang term which is thought to relate to a popular Irish singer. Ruby Murray, born in Belfast had top 10 records in the UK charts in the early to mid 1950’s and was seen on the bill at the Brick Lane Music Hall on more than one occasion. The Brick Lane area of East London was ( and still is ) well known for its high population of Bangladeshi immigrants. An influx that started in the later stages of the 20th century. Over time it became the Curry capital of the UK. This array of narrow streets with vibrant bars, shops, restaurants and incredibly lively Sunday market is also known as Banglatown. There you go, a short but sweet bit of education about the nation, well a tiny part of the East End of Londinium anyway. Next week Stoke Newington!
Then it happened. At the tender age of 21. I was rabbiting to a crafty cockney, a happy hammer, and it wasn’t Eric Bristow. Over a game of snooker one evening a few of us were chicken chatting, ( Chicken Chat?? Worth a high 5 surely )… And the subject of our after frame food options came up. I rejected the Indian choice on the basis that it looked horrific, and tasted worse. 
My good friend, and pleasingly still one of my besties, Bazza looked at me as though I had just dismissed a hot threesome with Kylie Minogue and Charlize Theron. For the record it should be stated officially that this opportunity has never presented itself, well, they haven’t got my number!

Back to Bazza, and his questioning me on my take on spicy foods. 

” How can you not like Indian? ”

I went on to tell him about my assemblage of all previous encounters. Bazza tutted as he moved on to 32, (4 reds, 4 blacks – show off), and wouldn’t drop it until I agreed that I would accompany him to this little gem of a place he knew. 
The Spice Of India, a small restaurant in Cranham, Essex. This was the start of my tutorial on Indian spices. The place that I realised not every dish has to be liking eating Lava. Bazza introduced me to a ‘Chicken Methi’. 

I can’t even begin to tell you what’s in it other than Chicken ( that’s a bit obvious I grant you ), and Fenugreek. What I can say however is that if you find most choices too hot this is most definitely the way to go. It’s an absolute cracker of a dish for a novice/beginner to get started with.
All of this admittedly via a long winded and sometimes painful slowly written path found me at 10 Dining restaurant some 21 years on. What can I tell you about 10 Dining?. Well the first thing is where it is. I never thought I’d hear myself say this but it’s true, it’s very possible that the best Indian restaurant on the Thurrock Riviera right now is in Tilbury. Right in the heart of Civic Square in the town centre. It wouldn’t be the first choice of positioning for me personally but each one of us are different right. 

Tilbury is famous for very few things. The things it is famous for aren’t all necessarily good either. It does have a very busy cargo port, and a cruise terminal, home to some of the Marco Polo vessels. In the middle of an expansion it is one of the few things to offer local people hope of employment in the near future. Police seized £70m pounds ( street value ) worth of cocaine outside of the port just two days ago. So you give people work in one hand and take it away in the other…. Oh and before it closed Tilbury was ( again allegedly ) home to the “Roughest Pub In The UK”, an establishment called The Ship. I’m not painting a pretty picture I grant you, but the truth is Tilbury has been left behind and is now trying to catch up. It is the home of Tilbury Fort though. Queen Elizabeth 1st rallied the troops here with a rousing speech, ready to repell the Spanish during the Armada. It’s a history lesson! … I would also say much like most towns in the UK it has it’s nice parts and it’s less attractive areas.
Where was I ?… Well, five of us went there for a birthday celebration. It was my sister – in – laws big day and so, with 10 Dining being within walking distance it made the decision easy enough. I didn’t mind walking, it was still light after all!…. We arrived at what first sight seemed like an everyday sandwich shop, admittedly with added cooking Tandoor’s. It wasn’t overly busy and we were sat down straight away. Drinks came over quickly and the owner dressed in a very relaxed shorts and shirt attire made us feel very welcome. 
Starters arrived and I have to say I was delighted. We had traditional vegetable & Lamb Samosas and I’m a bit of a Samosa connoisseur even if I do say so myself. They were light, incredibly flavourous ( I know it’s not a word but don’t stop me I’m on a roll ), and better still, not at all oily. I have in the past witnessed some horrific attempts at what is supposed to be a small and delicate starter, but these bad boys hit the spot. 4 of them as well as opposed to the 2 I would normally get elsewhere. Another dish tried was Methi Na Gota ( Fenugreek Fried Fritters ). If it was Christmas these lovelies would be in a cracker. Top drawer cooking. Bit of an insult really but i asked if the Samosas were bought in. Thankfully it was a straightforward no. 
Other dishes sampled, Tandoori Broccoli, unusual but very nice and a tremendous Onion Bhajia. I should add the 5th member of our group was an infant so was otherwise engaged playing with his cars/Marvel characters/iPad and therefore too busy to try the Coriander Prawns.
In between the starters and main course our foursome discussed the owner, or more so his likeness to the guy that ran the dental practice next door. The youngster was tearing up and down as innocent children do, somehow avoiding all things hot and dangerous by an inch or so either way. My SIL finally plucked up the nerve to ask the owner – cum – waiter if he was actually feeding you in the evening and then removing your teeth the following day. It turns out she was spot on. Okay he wasn’t the teeth removing commander, but he was the operations manager. 10 out of 10 for observation to the birthday girl.
We explained exactly why we were there and in generous fashion our host offered up a drink to our slightly tipsy reveller. Joking, although she does love a tipple so maybe not, Maisie said …”Ah just leave the bottle “…..smiling, the perfect unfazed response from our food provider was simply to hand over what remained of the half full bottle. The birthday girl looked as though she had been handed the alcoholic equivalent to a box of ferrero Rochers. We didn’t abuse the offer however, generous though it was.
In turn while awaiting our food, our generous patron introduced himself properly and went on to explain why a combination of boredom and his passion for cooking, had brought him to this moment. Taught by his mother, ( mums are the best aren’t they ), he had in many ways fulfilled a family dream. Maybe not in the perfect location but we all have to start somewhere right!… and as he spoke you could actually feel that drive to succeed. Certainly if the first dishes were anything to go by the cooking classes had been worth it.
With our little chap seated and focused on his chicken and rice I got deep down and dirty into my Chicken Methi. Fare play! This was seriously good food. As Del Boy might have said, Bonnay De Douche!.. The chicken wasn’t dry at all and the dish itself again wasn’t swimming in oil, like you do find now and again. GB, forever the expansive palate chose the Smoked Chicken Curry. Again no sign of the chook swimming in murky oils. Awesome. A hint of smokiness, and a wet sauce but not so much that the star attraction is lost in flavour. A pretty damn fine SCC then.
 My BIL ( brother – in – law ), and might I add a top banana went for the Chilli Chicken, with its own heat warning. I won’t say he was disappointed at the lack heat, and as a dish there were no complaints but he was fictionally shocked at my lack of being able to type fractionally!.. Let’s start that sentence again. He was fractionally, not fictionally, surprised that the meal wasn’t burning a hole in his tongue. It was hot though. Trust me I had a try and it didn’t seem at all mild. Then again my definition of mild and his are worlds apart. I define mild as a walk in a park on a lukewarm day. His competitive edge sees benign as twenty laps round Silverstone on a racing bike with no safety gear while eating a Strawberry Split. Don’t know what a SS is? Google nostalgic ice lollies. It was vanilla ice cream coated in a strawberry flavoured ice shell. Top bombing! And Mini Milks, you had to love a mini milk. 
Back to the present day, and birthday girl was tucking into her Chicken Tikka. The Chicken was neither dry nor hot which for a girl who normally has a Korma was a blessing. It was spiced well and had great flavour to it. I had to sample it for safety purposes. She even had a little bash on my Methi. It’s the beginners winner I’m telling you! The side dishes were all adequate and complemented the food well. Big high five for the Jeera Potatoes ( tossed in Cumin Seeds ), and GB gave a plaster covered thumbs up to her Chana Masala. By the finish we were all humbly full to the hilt.
I’m not going to tell you Lot porkies by saying we had desserts. We didn’t. My experience of Indian desserts is that they are basically a screwball under another guise or called Pengu and look like a child’s toy. It may have been different here but the truth is we didn’t get to try them. We were more than happy with our intake. Even the nipper was quiet. This may have been due to him being told off for somehow managing to kick the toilet door open while I was in there but luckily no – one other than the owner, three chefs, and a table full of customers saw my embarrassment. Could have been worse, could have been his mum!
Bill paid, or at least I wish he had. The meal with drinks was very reasonable. I would say if you live on the Riviera this is possibly the best place to sample some Indian delights. If you don’t live on the riviera then take some time out and make the journey. The food was that good.
 That’s my take on 10 Dining!
Next up, Spoil Yourself Sunday in Hampshire, or was it Dorset ? … I’m off to google Hursley. Catch you all later hopefully. 
Two other things before I go.

1. I made some cracking meatballs the other day. Why am I sharing this? Mainly because I’m a dreadful cook and so I was pleasantly surprised at the end result. Thank you Jamie Oliver for the recipe.

2. A cowboy walks into town wearing a paper hat, paper trousers, paper shirt and paper boots. He was arrested and slung in jail. But why?… Answer on the next blog!
😊