For me, the best thing about summer is the long days. The nine o’clock sunsets mean you can totally get away with finishing work gone 6pm while still feeling up for a decent evening out for a well-earned meal and drink.
So with the sun still shining on a Friday evening, and just about enough energy left in the tank after two very busy weeks in work between us, my fiancée and I decided to make the most of it and start the weekend in one of the best ways you can – a curry and a pint.
Having got a bit sick of the routineness attached to our local curry hot spots we took to Google Maps and picked out somewhere close enough we had never been to before.
We took the short drive up to The Elephant in the picturesque Eccleston countryside down Dawber’s Lane.
Previously known as Blue Elephant, the restaurant’s exterior is pretty ordinary with it blending in to its surroundings. After parking up and seeing how many cars were there, I’m glad we booked in advance because it was absolutely packed.
We were shown to the seated area in front of the bar where we ordered our drinks and food, despite there being a few two-seater tables available and it only being five minutes before our reservation.
Personally I really enjoy this part of going out for a curry. You don’t find yourself sat at your table ordering your meal and then waiting for it, having already ordered it 10 or 15 minutes earlier.
You can have a proper natter with whoever you’ve gone out with in a relaxed bar environment.
After around 15 minutes we were shown to our table where we were immediately brought out the papadum and chutney tray we had ordered (see what I mean about no waiting around?).
For £1.10 it was an absolute steal and for me is an absolute must.
Like the 90s house band, we went a bit leftfield with the main food order, opting for something off of the set meals.
We chose Set Meal A for two people. This involved a starter plate of Chicken Pakora, Duck Rolls, Shish Kebab, Monk Fish, and Onion Bhajis.
For mains it was Chicken Tikka Massalla, South Indian Garlic Lamb, Prawn Saagwala, Aloo Gobi Blussi, egg rice, and a garlic naan. There was also coffee and mints for afterwards.
For £38.95, the value seemed very good.
The starters were tasty, especially the chicken pakora which were extremely crispy and fluffy. My other half said they were the best she had ever had.
A waiter took away the starter dish and plates before asking if we wanted the mains now or after a break.
Gold star for him as I was already feeling pretty full and needed a little time off before anything else.
It was then that I realised we were the only two people with pints of draught lager (Stella, mainly for the glass – or chalice).
Every other beer in the restaurant was quite literally bottles of Cobra; commonly accepted as one of the best beers to have with a curry. But it made us laugh and we most definitely felt like first-timers.
Safe to say my significant other gave in to peer pressure and had a Cobra when it came to a second round. Me and my new Diet Coke were just fine across the table, honest...
Around this time loud music started coming from the curry house’s adjoining venue, where there must have been a teenager’s birthday on just from the number of young faces turning up.
It was annoying with the bass vibrating through to the restaurant. It’s own music might have gone some way to rectifying the issue.
The mains arrived as we requested. The portions were smaller than you would usually expect, but for the overall price it made sense; you were buying a taste of the four dishes.
It worked for us as we get bored of having just one dish – I can’t actually remember the last time we didn’t share a curry.
The Chicken Tikka Massalla was too mild but the other three were really good, especially the Prawn Saagwala. I like spinach in my curries.
We had a lot left over so it was music to our ears when they let us take the rest home with us. Saturday’s lunch was sorted right there and then.
Having declined dessert we weren’t offered the coffee and mints the set menu said we were going to get, which was disappointing.
Overall it was one of the better curry experiences I’ve had. Only next time my fiancée can drive – I’m having a Cobra or two.
Food – 4/5
Service – 3/5
Atmosphere – 3/5
Value – 5/5