You left me in St Neots, making sure young Si was heading in the right direction over the bridge.
Two and a bit hours later I was in the curry capital of the world.
No, I didn’t start at the Punjab Sweet House and then top up my curry at the Fighting Cock. That way madness lies.
I started off at Bradford Digs, a real little gem of a guest house in Great Horton. Personal service, superfast WiFi, best breakfast in Bradford (full English in case you’re worried).
Take a look at the Booking.com reviews, nearly all positive, and marvel that some folk consider a mile a long way to walk into town.
No new ticks in Bradford as I’d finished it last month, so a rare opportunity to revisit an old classic.
“You should go to the Fighting Cock” said my host, a sensibly lady. Mind you, she was convinced that it had Wobbly Bob on, which seemed unlikely. Everyone I know who drinks Wobbly Bob is female,
No real ale at the Fire Brigade at the start of the walk, but it looked inviting and there’s karaoke. How did I resist ?
Great Horton Road is a cultural experience in itself.
The left-hand turn into the industrial estates of Listerhills is a different sort of cultural experience entirely. Even the livery for the Fighting Cock says 1983.
You enter the Cock to the sound of James Brown, and you enter a real pub. A mixed crowd, including more 20-somethings than you’d expect. The loss of the Titus Salt (as a Spoons, anyway) may be a boon for Bradford’s other ale houses.
The beer board had one section for regular ales and a bigger one for guests; twelve in total. I reckoned the Tim Taylors ought to be reliable.
So I started with the Boltmaker because, y’know, it’s award winning and all.
And it was alright. Right sort of temperature, right head etc etc. Just not anything special (NBSS 3). So I went back 15 minutes later for the Landlord because, y’know, a good Landlord is the pinnacle of the brewer’s art.
And it was alright, it was OK etc etc. Beer Guide standard, no problem. And nearly £2 a pint cheaper than in London that week.
But I’d rather have paid £5.80 and had the pint of Cloudwater India Porter in Cambridge yesterday.
Great pub though. One chap put some money in the jukebox. On came “My World” by Secret Affair.
Hushed silence. Another chap came over, swore, gave the juke a thump and on came ELO and “Turn to Stone“. Order was restored.
I contemplated having an Old Peculier, but suddenly my tummy rumbled and I saw sense.
The story of Bradford pubbing in a nutshell. Really enjoyable pubs, OK beer. I reckon choice has increased by 25% just as custom has decreased by the same in the last decade.
The curry houses look a bit quieter, too. But from the International to the Kashmir to Punjab Sweet House, quality is as good as ever.