In the end, there was really no contest: stay home and slave over a hot pancake pan whilst my husband shouts and swears at a bunch of men in shorts running around on a pitch and refuses to let me flick to the Brits to see Lady Gaga's outfit du jour; or go out for dinner.
Clearly the latter option won, and we decided on The Fat Loaf in Didsbury Village. I tried to ring beforehand and book (to ensure no reneging on the deal and sneaking off to somewhere showing the football), but the fabulously breezy chap who answered the phone said there were lots of tables free and we should pop down whenever. The restaurant was pretty quiet when we got there, but word of our presence obviously got round as it soon livened up to the point where most of the tables at the front of the place were occupied - we had already bagged one in front of the fire.
The menu here is smallish and well-executed, with a focus on quality meat and grills. My husband had the game sausage with lentils and poached egg, and I chose the homemade pate with buttered toast. Both were delicious, with only two small criticisms: portions sizes are on the hefty side for starters, and my buttered toast was SO buttered (normally a good thing, I know) that it was difficult to get the pate to stay on its magnificently droopy surface.
Mains were good as well: chicken kiev served with proper chips, and lamb shank served with spring onion and pancetta potato cake. The kiev didn't really hang around long enough for me to try it; the lamb was at the proper falling-off-the-bone stage and the accompanying veg were delicious (more butter!) but the gravy a bit on the thin side.
Pudding was forced down: sherry trifle for me (who says Christmas is over?) and ice-cream for him. I normally mock anyone who has such an unimaginative pudding in a restaurant as ice-cream, but I would definitely go for this in future - chocolate, raspberry and lemon flavours each presented with a jaunty little accompaniment.
By this point, the husband was no longer sulking about the football, distracted no doubt by the healthy selection of Belgian beers available here. Anyway, we walked back through Didsbury, and the enormous cheer followed by shouts of "Rooney! Rooney!" that erupted from The Crown as we walked past gave him the courage to peer through the window of The Royal Oak and ascertain that a lead was indeed theirs.
And the pancakes? We're having them tonight.
- The Fat Loaf is at 846 Wilmslow Road, Didsbury M20 2RN. Starters £3.95 - £6.95; mains from £9.95 but special deals are available - check website for details.