Friday 10th June 2016.
What a splendidly peachy opener. A juicy, curling wonder pop setting Pony hearts a pitter-patter. (Who wouldn’t back France?) A slightly belchy hurrah splitting the convivial air of The Hillsborough Hotel momentarily.
And, while I’m at it, a thousand splendid not-bad-sons go to the inaugural Curry Sheff Club outing. It unfolded like a silky nightie fresh out the Debo’s bag. Everywhere we graced rooms opened up like ripe, horny oyster shells; oases of genial chumminess shone like bright pearls in the Hillsborough gloaming. Though not quite penetrating the gloomy innards of the WMC, I imagine, where re-runs of ‘The Charmer’ murmur below the rattle of antique smoker’s wheezes and mild invective.
Shabby chic Ship Inn > Tram carriage up lugubrious Langsett > Hillsborough epicentre, Taste Of India > hinterland haven, Hillsborough Hotel. With the elegance and precision of a well-oiled mantle clock we glided hither and thither; harried and harrumphed by a well-oiled, mental clot!
The pickle trays were right there, proud as punch, pre-empting the menus. Limeless, it’s true, but, otherwise, the predictable and timeless. The Indian vibes and decor presenting a conventional curry house exemplar, not exactly dazzling. A superior array of familiar starters though, shared out with meticulous equality – relished the sheek kebab (Fiona Fullerton in that Debo’s nightie); text book onion bhaji’s, just missing a kick. The samosas, however, were unconvincing (Nigel Havers in ‘When Did You Last See Your Trousers?’). Draught Cobra and bottled Kingfisher. From there it somewhat dropped off. Patchy service. My naga lamb tough as old jerky. Much better options dunked and snaffled. Sealed and sanitary, the last hot towel arrives, finally. Face-splashing the ripped free wipe I figure the bill a clean twenty.
A single Wild West saloon door swaying unsteadily on its hinge made for a curious entrance to the Ladies/Disabled toilet. At any minute, half expecting a cheroot-chewing cowgirl, guns blazing. Fittingly too – the joint was Deadwood by sundown. The Blue Ball over yonder glowered, brooding on a violent history.
Judge ‘Gonzo’ Pickles