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Saturday, 24 April 2010

Vicious Shoes Fail to Spoil Plucky Girls' Night Out...

Whilst one can obviously sympathise with doctors who have to do a lot of evenings on call, it is hard not to look a little triumphant when you have a dinner date with someone who then says "and of course, as I'm on call, I can drive."

This was the case on Thursday, and provided a rare but welcome opportunity to don a pair of the ludicrously high-heeled shoes I keep buying but never actually wear, instead maintaining a sleek fleet of sparkly beauties which are no use whatsoever for actually walking anywhere.

Unfortunately, the plan had one crucial flaw. We were booked to eat at Room, in central Manchester, and of course in my head we had snagged a parking space right outside the restaurant, certainly on King Street if not on Spring Gardens itself. This did not happen. Manchester was packed on Thursday, and we ended up parking approximately 800 miles away on a dubious-looking road with rather too many red neon signs. Our pesky male companions sauntered off in their smugly flat shoes, leaving two forlorn ladies tip-toeing through the streets on beautiful but pained feet.

All this meant that by the time we reached Room it had taken on Mecca-like significance, and we enjoyed our meal all the more for the suffering we had undergone in its honour. The menu has changed since I was last there, and my prawn cocktail starter was the nicest thing I have eaten at Room - three plump battered prawns served with spiced Whitby crab, tomato jelly and avocado. My husband was delighted to find black pudding and bacon on the menu, as part of an "All Day Breakfast" starter that included a little cup of earl grey jelly alongside the aforementioned pig.

This kind of witty interpretation of traditional classics is what Room does best, and it's always quite exciting to find out what form the twist will take. Mains are slightly easier to predict: my Pork and Apple was a huge slab of sucking pig served with a portion of crackling that I'm fairly sure has taken care of my calorie and fat allowance for the week, and my friend's Sole Veronique was a thing of exquisite and delicate beauty (much like the accursed shoes, in fact).

Prices are more or less what you would expect for central Manchester - around £6-£7 for starters and £16-£18 for mains, but they do run an enticing range of offers. Next time I go I'm going to try to catch the "All Inclusive" deal which runs at dinner between 5.30 and 7pm, offering two courses from a selection of dishes that changes weekly, as well as a glass of wine, for just £13.50.

I won't trouble you with details of my undignified hobble back to the car, or the fact that my friend had to make her boyfriend run back and get her FitFlops out the boot. Our feet looked extraordinarily beautiful at the restaurant; it was just a shame they were under the table where no-one could see.

Full details of menu and offers at

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