Saturday, 20 October 2012

The Regent Chippy, Regent St, Eccles, Salford

Eccles is one of those places that wouldn't usually spring to mind when someone says 'foodie'. A typical Northern town in decline with high unemployment, empty shops, Cash Converters and a cast of people that look like a mix of Jeremy Kyle meets Corrie, it isn't a place where you would normally make the effort to go on a daytrip. I mean, they don't even know what 'real' coffee is here! However, let me persuade you otherwise. If you yearn for times gone by, if you want something that little bit retro or you want a naughty, calorific treat, Eccles is THE place. You may have seen my previous post on Mario's Fish Bar, an Eccles institution. This time, I wanted to check out its closest rival, The Regent. A similar set-up to Mario's, the Regent is a sit-down chippy, a bit like what you find in seaside resorts. The Regent has a great location by the tram stop and bus station, the heady smell of salt and vinegar resulting in a steady stream of ravenous commuters. When I worked in Salford and used to get the 33 bus home, the driver would often run in the chippy and eat his chips whilst driving, sending all the passengers crazy with the smell! Talk about free advertisement for a captive audience.

The Regent's owner is Cypriot and has all sorts of Cyprus memorabilia adorning the seating area. For those who want to steer clear of chips, he even offers a Greek Salad on the menu! Both owner and staff are friendly and make the effort to get to know the customers. It seems a bit like Cheers Bar- everybody knows your name. I ordered chips with hot curry and the Carnivore went for the full monty- fish chips and mushy peas. Together with a tea and a Coke, this came to £9. The service was prompt and the portions were a damn sight more generous than Mario's. My curry sauce was more potent with a kick than Mario's efforts as well. Both the fish and chips weren't greasy, the Regent's USP being that they make everything fresh for each customer. For the health conscious amongst us, they will make your fish with less batter upon request. You can't be too health conscious in the Regent though, as they even have a dessert menu which includes old school favourites like sponge and custard and tinned fruit with ice cream. Desserts range from 75p to £2, perfect for eating out on a budget.

Spiceways, Liverpool


You might have heard me mention Spiceways a few times in this blog. A relative newcomer to the Liverpool dining scene, Spiceways blasted onto the scene at Christmas 2009, a time when people are more interested in mince pies than keema naan. The folk of Childwall had been pretty hard done by in the past when it came to restaurants, it is known as the 'posh bit' of Liverpool but there were never any decent restaurants here! When I lived there, the closest Indians were Woolton's extremely dire Raj, Allerton's hit and miss Sekanders and freezing cold Millon's. How ironic is it that Spiceways opened once I'd left my hometown.

I had heard mixed reviews about it regarding prices and quality, so I went in there with an open mind (like you all should!) ready to go on a fact-finding blogging mission. On first impressions, it is glitzy and glam and could be mistaken for a trendy wine bar. (Think Abida in Edinburgh and Lal Haweli in Manchester). I was met by a beaming smile, the staff were extremely friendly and gave us a roomy booth with a view. Don't you hate it when you get a cramped table and eating a multi-course meal becomes a balancing act? Here was the opposite- roomy and enough room for 6 people although there were only 3 of us. The decor is modern and airy- no sticky carpet and red flock wallpaper but modern furnishings and quality cutlery.

To start, I ordered samosas coming in at £3.10. Full to bourst out of its pastry casing, the veg were chunky and fresh and came with a crisp side salad and a raita-style dip. Mmmm heavenly.

The main course surpassed expectations. I ordered a vegetable madras, expecting the worst. Some of the recent madras I had have been terrible- watery, cool and tinned-veg tastic. This, however, was sublime. Chunky potatoes, fresh carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and peas all sizzled in harmony in one of the most fiery Madras sauces I have ever sampled. This would be classified as a Vindaloo in most restaurants. Maybe even a Phal. It was so hot, my ears started popping as if I was on a plane. (Before you naughty people ask, I didn't need Imodium the next day!)The curry was dense and well-padded, unlike some of these gravy boats I have seen in my time cruising the Scouse restaurant scene. The pilau rice and the naan were perfect as well, light and full of taste and texture.

I couldn't manage a dessert, so I opted for coffee. However, I was extremely disappointed. Behind the bar, I spied a beautiful coffee machine and thought I'd be on to a winner. Instead, I met my old foe, cheapo Nescafe. FAIL! I overlooked this little quibble though as the food had been such quality and on the whole, the restaurant was outstanding.

The best was yet to come. I took a trip to the toilets and couldnt believe the effort they had put in to making their female diners feel fabulous. Perfumes, hair products, brushes and creams were laid out to help yourself to. A beautiful couch in the toilets provided a perfect relaxation opportunity for busy times too!


My birthday saw a busy week off work fit for a foodie- I managed to squeeze in a Chinese, Thai, 2 curries, a Greek and a chippy! As part of my b'day celebrations took place in Liverpool, Spiceways was due a return visit so I killed two birds with one stone. I am pleased to announce it still has its VQ seal of approval- posh toilets, friendly staff, huge portions and non-chavvy ambience. Regrettably, it still gets minus points for lack of coffee machine, but there's always Lassi or Kulfi to round off the meal!

Spiceways on Urbanspoon