Bohemia Bar & Grill, Manchester
We gorged ourselves silly.
Bohemia's shape is befittingly curvy and it's semi-circled convex glass front allows diners to watch the suave businessmen and women, students, tourists and joggers ambling the cobbled streets and canals of Castlefield.
Sitting by the window at night in Bohemia is a must when Castlefield turns on its sexy urban mystique. The brick arches, canals and Merchant's Bridge are backlit, underlit, and all kinds of other ways lit, to make the area suitably moody and alluring.
Once Itchy forgave the proprietors for such criminal misappropriation of the word “bohemia” we greedily noshed our way through the kind of goodies that genuine bohemians wouldn't be seen dead eating, mainly because they can't afford it, but also on account of sheer bourgeois lavishness. Itchy's usual fare is more humble, for example, expertly cremated toast or insipid pot noodle (the latter atop the former on special occasions) so to gorge on such delectable treats made Itchy feel like a proper person.
When presented with a plate of lobster in garlic butter Itchy was immediately confronted with nightmarish visions of Homer Simpson's pet lobster, Pinchy being boiled alive and screaming for mercy. Pinchy's agony was then shoved to darker recesses of the mind because said lobster tasted blimmin' lush. In keeping with this Under The Sea theme, Itchy opted for homemade crab cakes on a bed of peperonata with chilli mayo dip and chunky fresh and tender salmon fillets. Despite the generously sized portions Itchy has no fear of obesity and henceforth embarked on a gluttonous rampage the likes of which has never been seen in these parts before. Also snapped up by Itchy's slavering jaws was a juicy perfectly cooked sirloin steak with a punchy blue cheese & chive sauce, Cajun tiger prawns, pan seared tuna (a salty marinated winner) and succulent mixed wild mushrooms. At risk of stomach combustion Itchy declined pudding but has pledged to return to try the strawberry cheesecake cocktail which combines Itchy's two favourite ingredients: booze and dessert.
As the jazz singer does her sultry thing covering modern classics (no Rage Against the Machine though) you can tuck into your chow whilst your ears are massaged. (Not literally. That's a metaphor for nice music.) When the chanteuse's vocal chords need a rest she is replaced by an ambient trancey soundtrack which synchronises perfectly with the overhead lights in the ceiling twinkling, shimmering and pulsating. This creates a soothing, relaxing mood which may or may not be an effort to hypnotise the patrons enticing them to eat more, drink more, eat more, drink more.
“Go on then,” you sigh.