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Ark: Restaurant review

Fat Git, our rotund cabbie, is out of hospital and needing the comfort of a female and a feast. Can Ark do the trick?

Published on January 14th 2010.


Ark: Restaurant review

YOU might have been wondering what has happened to me of late. But like everyone else, I have been tightening my belt.

Tightening my belt under the doctor.

I have issues with my weight, she informs me, and I should lose some.

You don't need me to tell you that this is difficult when you are sitting behind the wheel of a black cab on a 14-hour night collar.

You do need me to tell you that when you accidentally slam the door of said cab on your left love handle, like I did just after Christmas, you are in trouble. I was laid up in the Royal, flaccid on my back, with the little lady GP tut- tutting over me.

I went on the boiled egg diet. No Pringles, no curry, no cakes, no fun. But my problems didn't stop there. When you are on incapacity benefit, as I have been for 17 years, you don't move very quickly and neither does anything else, if you get me.

Fortunately, Pauline, Litherland's loveliest export, who I met online, has been sorting me out with this. She works in a colonic irrigation clinic in Netherton.

Or worked. Unfortunately, the bottom fell out of her world last week when she got laid off.

It all goes down the tubes in a recession. What a mess. But it should only be short term, she says, and her gaffer has been plumbing new depths to get business.

So I was on the rank at Penny Lane roundabout, eating a celery stick when all I could think about was having a Curly Wurly.

I was facing Ark. It is in a row of restaurants including Spire which the boss on here likes. Good smells were coming out. I started to drool.

Linda McDermott was on the radio, I think it was her, talking about gastric bands, and there were a load of other women all gabbing away.

One was going, “The only way to lose weight is exercise. What you need to do every morning is have a good brisk wa...”

The door of the Fairway flew open and 10 Ugg boots got in, all eating chips and effing this and blinding that.

They were all dead fit and skinny and going to Cube. The air was turning blue, but it wasn't the only thing.

The heating had packed in. Life was too short for this.

Twenty-three hours later, I was staring at a warm and muscular red. We were in Ark and the Malbec (£17.95) was going down the People's Princess nicely. Pauline, thinking I was taking her to the Arkles, had made a special effort.

Ravishing and tantalising. That was the only way to describe the menu, and I told her.

A bowl of marinated mixed olives (£2.50) got things off to a meaty start. They weren't bad at all. The waitress was very attractive but keen to do her job quickly. She was keeping her eye on me, and I was keeping my eye on her.

While Lady P glugged back her third glass, she briefly paused to remove the rim from her lips to ingest a “warm and crispy brie” wrapped in filo pastry with a raspberry coulis (£4.50) saying it was hitting the spot. I looked around and

when I turned back she had gone to the toilet. I polished the lot off. The filo pastry was warm and crispy, good that the Brie wasn't, but it oozed like a warm creamy slick with the fruity coulis tartly cutting though it. My girders gurgled.

What real man can resist anything wanton? So I made a beeline for hand-rolled duck spring rolls with a sweet soya ginger dressing (£4.95). They were delicious. The casing as thin and fragile as ice on a morning park lake and the generous and rich filling of meat and vegetables came in a zingy but meagre oriental broth. What would the quack make of this duck?

Pauline wanted steak and chips. A grilled rib-eye with mushroom sauce and hand cut thin chips (£14.95). She asked for it well done. If I had known this, I would never have let her order it. What can you say about a “well done” steak that Doc Marten's haven't said? I was seeing her in a new light, just like you will see the food in these terrible quality pictures.

In the event, it wasn't the only thing well done. The chips it came with had battled with the steak to be the last thing out of the pan and had won by a mile. They were brown. Very brown. She wasn't bothered though.

A mixed leaf salad with cherry tomatoes, balsamic & olive oil dressing (£2.95) was what it was, my pan fried fillet of plaice with spinach and fennel, coriander (£13.95), less so.

Plaice was not designed with a man with an ample girth in mind, and although there was plenty of green spinach and/or coriander and the surprising guest appearance of a shower of shallots in the creamy sauce, no fennel could I find.

I wasn't going to starve, and ordered a side order of “homemade chipped potatoes” (£2.45) which were as good as chips get. Did Pauline get to try one? No sir. I guarded them.

But by now she was on glasses of house white and knocking them back like water. This was partly because there was no dessert wine by the glass to go with her baked New York coconut and strawberry cheesecake (£4.75) and partly because she was on a roll with her week-in-hand redundancy.

Any port in a storm. But there was none of that either. There is a bottled (£13.95) Chateaux Haut Roquefort to go with puddings though.

The cheeseboard was average. But I've had a lot worse. Stilton with apricots, Wensleydale with cranberry and a ripe soft blue Cambozola style number came with a few grapes, a cherry tomato and a stack of Jacobs. The crackers not the Creek.

Pleasantly full for a starving man I reached in my pocket because I could. But Pauline put her hand on mine.

When the bill came, she told me, she would toss me for it.

You can't say fairer than that. I paid in cash, in seconds flat.

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this, the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Don't be daft.

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7 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousMarch 6th 2009.

You want to watch out criminal cabbie. There are people watching you driving about who know who you really are.

Pauline's mateMarch 6th 2009.

That's not what I caught off Fat Git

Jezb89March 6th 2009.

It made me want to go there. I luv a duck now and again. Lol. Fat Git can give me a lift home before he gets locked up by the CRB!

SiobhanMarch 6th 2009.

Ewwww! I absolutely can't stand it! I don't know why I read this stuff when it raises my blood pressure so much. Perhaps to remind me that I'm still alive after a day stuck at my desk but it's not good for me. I'm sure the Git's food reviews are putting me on target for a gastric ulcer.

sharelock homesMarch 6th 2009.

Isn't incapacity benefit intended fpr those who can't work? Presumably 14 hours on "night collar" doesn't count. Your next passenger might be a DSS investigator! Still, a spell in Walton or Altcourse might solve your weight problem.

DigMarch 6th 2009.

I caught a lift off Fat Git a few nights ago. I wasn't expecting a table and hamper in the back of the cab. I was a bit disappointed all he had was a Scotch Egg and bottle of Blue Nun to tuck into though.

Sid JamesMarch 6th 2009.

Very, very funny. It reads like an X-rated Carry On film. Keep up the good work, Fat Git. Or should I say, Carry On with the good work. Or should I just say, keep it up, Fat Git, for Pauline's sake.

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