In the classic comedy series, Fawlty Towers, Basil plans a gourmet night to attract a higher class of clientele to the infamous Torquay hotel. Kurt, the excellent new chef who fancies Manuel the Spanish waiter played by Andrew Sachs, until recently one of Jonathan Ross’ closest acquaintances, manages to get totally pie-eyed and passes out just before the dinner is supposed to be cooked. With guests already arriving, local restaurateur, André, comes to the rescue with a three choice menu of duck with orange, duck with cherry or duck surprise (duck with neither orange nor cherry), that never makes it to the table. The culmination of this disaster scenario is Basil thrashing his Austin 1100 with a branch in one of the funniest, well known and most repeated scenes of the comedy solar system.
So when Alan and Heidi invited us to Casa Mia Grande, a well known Italian restaurant in Chapel Allerton, for a “gourmet evening”, I quivered, took the car for a service, wore my stain proof pants and a shirt that could tolerate red wine spills.