It was perhaps serendipitous that an unironed shirt delayed our departure to Cosmopolitan in Chorley by 10 minutes last week.
Having got to Bamber Bridge by 6.50pm with a reservation for 7pm, I asked Mr M to call and warn the restaurant of our tardiness – only to be told they weren’t expecting us at all. It seems my booking the day before had been entirely forgotten about.
Not the best start, but they could accommodate us, and we continued to the St George’s Street venue, which looked very pleasant all lit up with fairy lights.
I’d read somewhere this was meant to be one of Chorley’s more upmarket restaurants, and first impressions didn’t disappoint.
There is an outdoor area with flame tower heater, and inside, exposed brick, subdued paints and wine crates repurposed as shelving.
A man who appeared to be the manager greeted us and we were ushered to a table inbetween two other couples. Before we’d been handed menus, those couples paid up and left, then a comedy routine began between the manager, a waiter and us.
Stand up, sit down, move here, no here... and so on for another 10 minutes. Our unexpected arrival had thrown out the seating plan and we would have to move.
After two attempts, we were seated against a full-length radiator. Mr M asked if it could be turned down a fraction. Sadly not, but we did get our first drinks – a Peroni and a diet Coke on the house, which went some way to quenching the growing thirst.
As for the menu – it’s not called the Cosmpolitan for nothing. There’s nachos alongside gnocchi, tandoori chicken and a fish catch of the day. It seemed confused.
Bypassing the sharing platters, I opted for the bruschetta pomodoro (£6.95) and the smoked haddock risotto (£14.95). Mr M went for the smoked haddock fishcake (£6.95) and the middle eastern spiced lamb (£17.95).
My bruschetta arrived beautifully presented on a bread board-style platter. The toasted garlic ciabatta was subtle and crunchy, the tomato, onion and basil topping was delicious and fresh, with the balsamic dressing adding sweetness. I knew it wasn’t coming with mozarella, but I do always miss it on a bruschetta.
So far, so good. Then we waited, and waited, more than half an hour from our starter plates being cleared, to getting mains.
My risotto was okay. That’s as good as I’m going to go for something that cost £14.95. There was plenty of smoky fish, the poached egg on top was runny when slit open, and the rice was al dente, as it should be.
But there was no velvetty creaminess, and the parmesan ‘crisp’ was more overpowering, gritty crumb. Oh, and for a garnish, two raw cherry tomatoes plonked to one side, completely redundant.
Mr M gave me a taste of his lamb. He said: “What if I said chip shop curry sauce?” And that’s what it tasted of. It could have been any meat, with a dish of, boiled veg with no dressing.
Maybe we caught them on a bad night, but it was a disappointing experience.