A Giant Garlic Naan and Cookie Dough Ice Cream Porter

15th March 2023.

One of the real joys of the blog is meeting up with fellow enthusiasts of travel, pubs and calorific excess (as part of a rigid dietary plan).

Since completing the Guide (did you hear ?) I’ve rarely said “No*” to any invitation to a meet-up, particularly with blogging legend Blackpool Jane. And particularly in Manchester, where Jane was attempting to complete the local Guide entries after work.

Mrs RM wanted to come too, as long as our campervan passed its MOT at Hillsborough Kwikfit that afternoon. Which it did, eventually, so all we had to contend with then was the inevitable delay at Sheffield Station.

We could go in the Tap ?” said Mrs RM. It wasn’t a question. She’s worse than me, she really is.

You may struggle to believe this, but even more than me Mrs RM is a Pint (Wo)man, and had the house Pale while I went all Blackpool Jane with a half of Cookie Dough Ice Cream Porter. I’m going to get one of those little cotton wristbands like Cameron worse in Big Brother that say WWJD (What Would Jane Do). Except if she says to have the diet Parmo I’m out.

The Tap was heaving at just after 3 on a damp Wednesday in March, possibly because it’s the preserve of lone drinkers by necessity taking up a whole table, but Mrs RM scare one of them off so we could sit down.

In the spirit of absolute honesty, I should tell you the company was better than the perfectly good beer (NBSS 3+), a theme that continued once we left Manchester’s Oxford Road Station to continued drizzle an hour later.

Akbar’s is the small curry house chain that claimed Juninho’s patronage in Middlesbrough.

You remember Juninho, don’t you ?

Akbars occupies the little run of brightly lit restaurants in Castlefield opposite the great Museum of Transport.

It looks smart,

and the service was lovely, though they stuck us in the corner, and nobody puts Blackpool Jane in the corner. I think that’s a quote from Die Hard or something.

Oh yes, the photos. What’s going on there ? Absolute rubbish. Bet Jane got a better shot of Matthew (he’d left his barber shop early for a curry) and his giant garlic naan.

The waiter told us the normal naan was small, which it wasn’t, so Matt was almost bullied into the naan that seems to be the reason folk go to Akbars (top). I bet Juninho had two of them before every game, or at least Ravanelli did, which is why they were relegated.

The food was good enough, though I doubt it’ll displace This & That on the Southworths list of curry stops.

And then to the pubs, on a night when Manchester looked particularly lovely despite the fact it was raining and I was staring at my feet. It NEVER rains when I go to Manchester, so I’ll blame Matt, who is off the beer and didn’t join us on our mini-crawl starting in The Village.

The Molly House, Abel Heywood’s and Fierce is about as diverse a trio as you could pick.

I’ll let Jane fill you in. Back in the GBG after quite a gap, the Molly was pleasant, served good microbrews (NBSS 3), had “nice lighting” per Mrs RM, and was seemingly busier upstairs,

while the Abel I’d only visited recently had a dull and sweet Original (2.5) and dull seating but a pleasingly mixed crowd which I’d never knock.

We actually had the Crown & Kettle on our list, but time had slipped away from us and due to Jane’s sponsorship deal with Fierce we legally had to pop in there before her gig. I love Fierce, but the Dark Mild on keg wasn’t the same as the Dark Mild on cask, though frankly I was happy with the pineapple beer that Mrs RM was less sure about.

In truth, I struggle with drinking on a full stomach, in sharp contrast to Mrs RM. Some GBG tickers seem not to eat at all when out pubbing.

Never mind, Fierce is best sitting outside in Thomas Street anyway, so roll on the long summer. Whether it’s a summer where Jane can celebrate Blackpool’s miraculous survival is quite another matter, but I’m steering clear of that subject.

*”No, thanks” – BE POLITE !!!

3 thoughts on “A Giant Garlic Naan and Cookie Dough Ice Cream Porter

  1. I’ll never forget the look on my brother’s face when that naan arrived at our table. Absolute despair. I think they can only do that to you once and you can tell from people at neighboring tables that it happened to at least half of them once.


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