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Restaurant review: Guilty of glutttony

Reverend Kurt Manor takes his Bible and his bird, with missionary zeal, to The Lobster Grill in Parkgate

Published on January 14th 2010.

Restaurant review: Guilty of glutttony

A SHREIKING gale and a battleship-grey sky, sluicing rain showers, turned picturesque Parkgate into a nightmare vision. The reedy marshlands flanking the River Dee were being whipped into a frenzied maelstrom, a la King Lear's blasted heath, and, as we ran for cover from the car, two dogs barked out a backyard argument and a crow walked nonchalantly by.

As she munched contentedly, like a ruminating bovine,
I reflected on the last time I had a whole lobster thermidor.
It cost £80

Summer evenings down here are more fondly remembered for pink-blush sunsets and the the call of redshanks and spoonbills, but climate change seems to have dramatically transmogrified the weather landscape.

The cosy and tranquil interior of The Lobster Grill was a welcome contrast to the buffeting gusts of wind experienced outside seconds before.

She-who-must-be-obeyed was due a treat after spending a month on a loathesome liquid-only diet which consisted of three glasses of foul broth each day. It was a heroic effort in the bid to return to size 12 after ballooning during months of pregnancy.

However, I would never have imagined the breathtaking display of gluttony that was to unfold before us.

I recall as a junior reporter going to a lunch with some diet-conscious ladies who were to hear a motivational address from a star weight loss guru. It was a set menu in an obvious attempt not to throw temptation their way. During the course of the lunch some of the 'war stories' emerged from the ladies who ranged from the rather large to the nondescript.

One recalled how she regarded it as a triumph of willpower if she made it back home from the takeaway without wolfing the contents in the car first. Another missed a job interview, such was her craving for a mountain of a mud pie with chocolate, fudge, cream, caramel and cake washed down with litres of fizzy pop.

The speech, when it arrived, was not really about food but concerned resolve, self-esteem, and sin versus virtue etc.

My companion, the African Queen, likes a lot of this self-help stuff, particularly if it has a spiritual edge. Allied to her no-food diet has been a punishing regime in the gym, and I've seen her go for an hour on a treadmill or the killer cross-trainer.

Back in The Lobster Grill, her eyes feasted on the menu and I got the distinct impression she was salivating at the mouth. There was a distant look, maybe a hankering for those diet-free days in Zambia soaking up the sun and huge slabs of spiced goat meat.

For starters, tempura battered king prawns with a sweet chilli dip (£5.95). The substantial, dearly-departed crustaceans in light batter went down a treat unlike a similar dish in Blackpool a few days previously which was nothing short of a scandalous British rip-off.

My lobster and asparagus salad in dill mayonnaise (£6.95) deserved an ovation. Substantial chunks of shellfish, crispy salad and dreamy sauce was a pleasure to devour.

And so to centre-stage. The lobster platter (£16.95) was truly a feast for an African Queen. A huge plate with two halves of lobster smothered with a rich thermidor sauce, more fried king

prawns, a salad bowl and a mountain of mash in a side dish. I was quietly confident defeat would be admitted long before the end of this culinary colossus.

As she munched contentedly, like a ruminating bovine, I reflected on the last time I had a whole lobster thermidor. It cost £80. In fact the last time I had any sort of lobster was in a prominent Italian restaurant in Liverpool, and for £18.95 I received a plate of spaghetti with four or five tiddly bits of fish. So, not only was this meal a giant it was also incredible value for money, with none of this big city nonsense of charging extra for side dishes.

While this massive offering was being slowly but surely despatched, I was enjoying what was merely a side act but the halibut supreme (£13.75) comprised a chunky fillet of well cooked fish on a bed of standard vegetables with mash. However, the “supreme” element, ie. the sauce, seemed to be significantly absent.

Both dishes were eventually polished off, accompanied by a zingy but unspectacular bottle of French sauvignon blanc (£13.95). If I thought this was the end of the feasting I was wrong. The Queen then ordered the biggest pudding I've ever seen delivered to a restaurant table. Even other guests in the room gasped at the entrance of the pineapple surprise (£4.75) which had allegedly been chosen on health grounds as it had fruit in the title.

Settled on a bed of half pineapple was a hillock of ice cream, cream cheese and bananas. This too was put to the sword in one of the most impressive displays of sheer rapaciousness I've yet seen.

It would take a week of the aforementioned foul brew to make up for this effort.

Rating: 15/20
Breakdown: 7/10 Food
4/5 Service
4/5 Ambience
Address: The Lobster Grill
The Parade
0151 336 1774

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bloodyellAugust 15th 2008.

u lot sure u have this right? That lobster looks like someone shat on a plate and the vegetables on the halibut look straight out of the microwave. More like 13/20 to me.

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