Bring me sunshine! Tapas Esteban takeaway, Chorley review
Before any foreign family holiday, especially with toddlers, there is an unfathomably high level of planning.
Everything is checked and double checked, from suncream to sunglasses, and from passports to passengers (we are not having another Home Alone scenario).
Everything, that is, except for what we might be having for tea once we arrived back home.
The long-forgotten post-holiday fridge is always without a single bean; quite literally not a sausage.
And despite the endless drizzle of the British summer which greeted us at the airport and clung to us ever since, we allowed ourselves the briefest holiday extension as if we were still pool-side.
To make it authentic, we noted that Just Eat list a single Spanish establishment in our area; Tapas Esteban in Chorley, so we ordered, hid the unpacked luggage in a spare room and cracked open the duty free.
The menu is vast but not singularly Spanish.
An eclectic world-fayre includes Lamb Kofta with Tzatziki, Moroccan Vegetable Balls, Greek Salad, Thai Green Curry and, as if to keep our feet firmly on the ground, Lancashire Twist Potatoes.
But it remains a robustly Tapas cuisine, with fish, chicken, meat and potato dishes, and an impressive selection of breads.
Evocative favourites like Grilled Goat Cheese, Chorizo with Red Wine and Gambas Pil Pil are enough to make you want to go straight back to the airport.
At around £5 per dish, you need to be ruthless with your choices; there’s little chance of trying a good multiple amount of the dishes without racking up a hefty bill.
So we picked a Slow Roasted Brisket in Cola and Chilli, Lamb Kofta with Tzatziki, a Sticky Spicy Chicken, Patatas Bravas, and just because we were intrigued, those Lancashire Twist Potatoes.
The Lamb Kofta as a starter was not lacking in size, but was a little dry, and definitely needed the ample pot of sauce which accompanied it.
From our first potato dish we were expecting literally twisty potatoes, but they were in fact potatoes with a Lancashire twist - a deliciously rich combination of brie and black pudding and actually more more-ish than the patatas bravas, even though they themselves were deliciously spicy whole new potatoes, roasted and smothered with a tomato and jalapeno sauce.
There was more chilli too in the sticky spicy chicken.
The slightly sweet sauce was full of chillies and had just the right amount of fiery kick, but the star dish was the slow roasted brisket in cola and chilli (ok, we like chilli, and something had to make up for the lack of sun).
A pot of this rich stew with Lancashire Twist Potatoes would be a delicious main course, so the fact we could have a set of other dishes too made it ideal.
If only we could have eaten them outside.