Sunday, March 20, 2011
A real treat
What a good night we had, last night.
One of the things we missed, or at least thought we missed, when we were in France, was the theatre. Our French was nowhere near good enough to enjoy French theatre and the longing about not being able to do something naturally makes the missed opportunity more desirable and 'longed for.'
The truth is that we only went to the theatre infrequently when we lived near London. Even in those days prices were becoming extortionate and, more to the point, a seat at a more reasonable price was at best uncomfortable and at worst painful.
To my mind the London theatre going public were/are getting ripped off big time. The seats 'in the gods' were designed for either midgets or seriously deformed people and if you weren't deformed before you went in you sure as hell were deformed after. That and the need for oxygen and counselling for vertigo, made it all together an unpleasant experience no matter how good the show.
The only way to go to a London theatre was to extend your mortgage and treat yourself to the private wing, in the stalls. Fine for tourist visits or expense accounts but not too good for regular folk.
On the other hand Harrogate theatre is lovely, as befits a theatre in gentile Harrogate and many miles from London.
Now, I don't do a lot of culture. I'm not a philistine but I can get culture fatigue just reading the Sunday papers. Two hours max at an art gallery does me and, the more artistic of the two of us Jan, feels pretty much the same. So with that in mind we booked something not too strenuous as our first foray into theatre-land.
Mark Steel was excellent. Very, very funny. He did a two and half hour stand up routine, with non stop laughs, in excellent seats in the circle for £15 each. We spent a lot more than that for the curry after the show. A very clever and very funny performance. Excellent.
Now a plug for the Indian restaurant that followed.
For all the good things that anyone can say about France one common moan from all ex-pats is the lack of decent ethnic food. Frankly, even when you could find one, Indian and Chinese restaurants are, and I suspect always will be, crap. The French are not good at different cuisine. Theirs is the best, full stop, no arguments. They're not a nation open to a foreign culinary change or challenge.
Last night was a good example of how ethnic food has evolved and changed in England and in a very positive way.
I know it was eleven o'clock at night so I wasn't really surprised when we were turned away from a Thai restaurant that we'd spotted on the drive in but we'd passed a half decent looking curry house whilst walking to the Thai so decided to give that a go instead.
What a treat. What a find. Such great new and unusual food. I remember visiting Shabab in Leeds many, many years ago and, since we've been away, they've opened one in Harrogate.
As Jan waxed lyrical about her starter she leant over and said 'this is a real find, we've got a new favourite.' We were served by an extremely pleasant young man who I suspect was connected to the owners. We chatted away and allowed him to chose for us. Wow, was he good. With one exception we had food that we'd never eaten before and that frankly blew us away. Recommended.
We'd got used to our favourites at our regular haunt in Windsor some years ago but in the relatively short time that we'd been in France, Indian cuisine has moved on a whole new level. The last time that we'd eaten this well was at The Red Fort in Soho during a quick trip to London (thanks Kevin).