I am by nature a most adventurous soul; I am perfectly willing, for example, to try my hand at either red wine or white wine, and sometimes during the week I stay up as late as 10.30 (although, admittedly, this does not happen that often.) So it should come as no surprise to anyone that rather than do the usual and go out in Didsbury last night, we threw caution to the wind and travelled several miles to Altrincham - which is, after all, in an entirely different county, although luckily it transpired that no passports were required.
The main reason for our trip to Alty was to try Le Trappiste, a bar offering the largest selection of Belgian beers in the North West. Mr Liz has been campaigning for a visit ever since he spotted it during the Altrincham Food Festival but was denied entry by his cruel wife, who wished instead to go the crepe van, and as girls were outnumbered three to two in our party last night it seemed the time was right to finally grant his wish.
And actually, it was perfect. We had rung ahead and booked a table, and were given a prime spot in the front room of the bar - a small but perfectly formed beer haven, with sultry red walls and a bar gleaming with tempting bottles. The venue extends over two floors, but as the charming staff offer full table service, there is frankly no need to ever leave your seat; despite its tardis-like proportions, however, I would suggest it is worth booking at the weekend if there are a few of you. Also make sure you take an expert boy with you if you are a Belgian beer virgin, as the drinks menu is roughly the size and thickness of a sturdy doorstop, and contains more beer than any boy could have ever dreamed of. We stayed for a couple - I was comparatively unadventurous and chose a De Koninck and a Maredsous (persuasively listed as a "good quaffer", like myself), but the most popular choice was the Kwak beer, served in what appeared to be a giant specimen jar (EVERY boy wished to try this one, unsurprisingly.)
In an even more exciting example of a plan coming together, Le Trappiste offers its customers a discount voucher for nearby Indian restaurant Dilli, which by happy coincidence was our next destination. Mr Liz and I had enjoyed a meal there before, on a quiet midweek evening, but last night's dinner was nothing short of breath-taking. Firstly, the place was packed - a good sign on what appeared to be a quiet night elsewhere in Altrincham; indeed, a spectactularly rude party refused to wait five minutes for their table and walked out. Still, their loss - this is what we ate, and they didn't:
- 1 x Papad Basket (poppadoms helpfully broken into bite-sized pieces for exceptionally lazy diners like ourselves)
- 1 x Kebab platter for two
- 1 x Parsi fried fish
- 1 x Lamb Chop Adraki
- 1 x Tangari Kebabs
And for mains...
- 1 x Kashmeri Roganjosh
- 1 x Hyderabadi Bhuna Gosht
- 1 x Kozi Chettinad
- 2 x Specials...and I can't tell you the names as - my ONLY complaint about the entire evening - the menus were too faded to read them. Mine contained spinach and chicken, if that helps.
We also had the best bread any of us have ever had in an Indian restaurant - we had to keep ordering more and more of the Pudhina parantha, crispy layered bread flavoured with mint. The bill for five of us, including two bottles of wine, came to £108 - this does include our 15% discount from Le Trappiste, but we all agreed it would still have been excellent value even without it.
So, Altrincham gave us the best night we've had for ages, a just reward for our brave intrepidness in crossing the Cheshire border. Now, if the whole town could just be picked up and moved a little nearer to my house, it really WOULD be perfect.