A QUIET NIGHT IN BRADFORD

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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.

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Handi Gosht & Parathas

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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).

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Bradford Digs
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Breakfast – the healthy bit

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 ?

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What’s that shadow in the window ?

Great Horton Road is a cultural experience in itself.

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Poshest Kashmiri Restaurant in the world, probably

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.

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Younger than BRAPA

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.

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Pub life

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.

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More beers than you can count

So I started with the Boltmaker because, y’know, it’s award winning and all.

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Barmaid so efficient she’s blurry

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.

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Proper beers

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.

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An OK pint

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.

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A great pub with too many beers on

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.

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32 thoughts on “A QUIET NIGHT IN BRADFORD

  1. Not wishing to cause a diplomatic incident, I have a feeling that the Mumtaz is Kashmiri – like several in the area – in the sense that the staff might prefer it not to be referred to as “Indian”.

    But it is still what we so often say. Remember the Ravi Shankar LPs and the flock wallpaper?

    Those proprietors’ next generation are doctors and solicitors these days.

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    1. I have a bolthole in GOC about five miles from there, but TBH, I tend to haunt Leeds, Hudds etc. My ex-workmate Abdul – a Bradford man – always said that Mumtaz is the best, and that’s probably correct from a particular culinary cultural POV, but I found the otherwise brilliant food just too salty. There’s not much that you can do about that.

      Good piece though Martin, and I’m minded to cut Bradford a bit more slack for it.

      The digs look great. They remind me of some that I used to use in Sheffield.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Went to Mumtaz once, astonishing. Actually, the pickles tray was the best bit, I think the International or Sheesh Mahal edge it but unfair to judge on one visit. Def. cut Bradfud some slack. Our American readers love it.

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  2. With regards to the OS map; I quite like Bowling Park in the bottom right. One must be pretty ballsy to leave your car there, yes?

    “Breakfast – the healthy bit”

    Tsk, tsk. I have it on good authority that toast (i.e. bread) is full of carbs and thus, not very healthy.

    “What’s that shadow in the window ?”

    Quoth the raven?

    “Pub life”

    Without any of those 20-somethings you mentioned above. 😉

    “More beers than you can count”

    They quite like their bottled Belgians it would seem.

    “Barmaid so efficient she’s blurry”

    Is that your bottle of Kolsch in the photo?

    “I contemplated having an Old Peculier, but suddenly my tummy rumbled and I saw sense.”

    (shakes head)

    “The curry houses look a bit quieter, too. ”

    It’s so hard to curry favour these days. 😉

    Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Who is your good authority ? Nick (formerly of Erlangen). Bread is splendid for you.

      (nips out to get bread)

      The 20 somethings were either shy or attacking the juke box. What do they play on the juke at your nearest bar ? Freebird ?

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      1. “Who is your good authority ?”

        Um, Mr. Internet? 😉

        “What do they play on the juke at your nearest bar ? Freebird ?”

        Pfft. That’s a bit further south from where I live. Up here it’s Snowbird by Anne Murray. 🙂

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      1. I remember twenty or thirty years ago when “Real Ale” was something a pub would boast about “Fine Ales” indicated a keg only pub.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Spent many a happy night ok the Fighting Cock when Susie was a uni in Bratfud. Same number of beers on then (2007-2011) and I recall it was always of good-but-not-great standard. That’s what autovacs really do! (See discourse for more discussion on said topic…)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What could possibly have happened in 2007 to trigger a reduction in custom and beer quality ? ;-o

      NB Do you mean the Cock probably uses autovacs or doesn’t ? All I know is that Staggs in Musselburgh uses them and their pints are nectar !

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      1. They use them but both Chris and my experience is that used in England it’s to the detriment of the pint! Over the border it’s been better. Maybe to do with air fonts in combination, rather than hand pulls?

        Anyway, if you think Chris spent a lot of time there, spare a thought for me: I was an archaeology student* and it was 2 minutes from my best friends house and 10 from mine…!

        *best people to find the good pub in an area if you’re not a GBG completeist in this order: archaeologists, bell ringers, trainee CofE or Catholic priests, local (not student) rugby teams. And the brass banders will know where you can get ratarsed for the cheapest price while still drinking something that is at least only slightly awful.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Secret Affair? We had a few beers with Ian Page when he played Brid Scooter rally in, I’m guessing 2010. Maybe earlier? What a cock end – facking satherners lurve themselves don’t they, facking Tottingham. My Lahore is where all the young kids of Asian heritage go.

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