OK: I know Saturday nights are probably the busiest going out night of the week, but it was very cold last night, and we are (as of Friday) officially in the middle of a recession. So I felt confident in ringing the Lime Tree at 6pm to see if they could squeeze us in. They could. At 10.15. Never mind - the Lime Tree is the best restaurant in the area, after all - we would simply take a cab up to Burton Road and see what took our fancy.
So after a couple of drinks in The Metropolitan (very busy, especially considering that two rounds of drinks in here cost roughly the same as a small car) we made our way to the very fine Rhubarb. Fully booked. Oh. Then the very charming Italian restaurant Azzurro. Very apologetic, but fully booked. By now I was eying up scabby dogs and cursing my choice of footwear - West Didsbury pavements were not made for spike heels.
Hurrah for the Namaste Nepal, where we were swiftly seated and served restorative poppadums. This curryhouse is massive though, and only twenty minutes or so after our arrival people were being turned away. I tried to look sympathetic rather than smug. The food here was brilliant as usual - the bringal (aubergine) side dish is unfeasibly good, as is the makhan fish which I always order despite promising myself I'll try something new. The service and the atmosphere is much, much better than at its sister restaurant Great Kathmandu, just up the road, where the waiters are sometimes surly and are prone to spilling food of the type that leaves permanent stains on you (well OK, that was just once).
The moral of the story? If you're going out and fancy anything other than curry, then book. The good folk of West Didsbury are gamely doing as Gordon Brown asks and are spending us out of recession.