So where to go to eat when you visit the Alhambra Threatre in Bradford? Erm, what about the Alhambra?

Yes, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to curries in Bradford and it was once renowned as the curry capital of Britain.

But instead of dashing around the city centre, dodging speeding cars – in my opinion they really are the worst drivers in Yorkshire – why not nip upstairs at the beautiful old Alhambra and dine in style?

Restaurant 1914, next to the Upper Circle, is like stepping back in time to a gentler, more upmarket age when food wasn’t fast and neither were the motor cars.

The decor in 1914 – the year the Alhambra opened by the way – is sumptuous in style, the furniture comfortable and reassuring. The lighting subdued, the chandeliers impressive.

The service had that ‘nothing too much trouble’ olde worlde feel. The last time I can remember being served “complimentary” bread rolls before the meal was as a child on a regular family meal at the Old Swan in Harrogate. I’ll let you speculate on how long ago that was...

And my partner Sian was even called “ma’am” by an impeccably turned out young waitress. Crikey. She’s not the Queen, you know.

Restaurant 1914 at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford which has views across City Park
Restaurant 1914 at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford which has views across City Park

Actually I could get used to this. It’s nice to go old school, sometimes.

The maitre d’ – I’m going to call him that – greeted us and enquired after our food and it felt splendid to be looked after. Modern restaurants just aren’t like this and it’s not suffocating. It’s just...nice.

I did feel a bit self-conscious pulling out my mobile phone and taking pictures of the food. I know everyone does it these days – and the experience reviewed on Facebook before the food is even properly digested – but I’m not sure about brandishing my iPhone at the dining table. It’s not something one does in polite company, my dear.

I said the food wasn’t fast here but neither can it be slow. You have a show to catch after all.

As we usually do we’d checked out the menu online and I only phoned to book in the morning. I wasn’t sure we’d get in and it was pretty full when we arrived at 5.45pm, ahead of a 7.30pm show.

We decided three courses might be pushing it a bit, and I didn’t want to risk dozing off after over-indulging.

By now you know I’m a dessert fan so we gave the starters a miss though the Mediterranean Mezze sharing platter (£12.95) sounded tempting.

Sian went for the Slow Cooked Pork Belly (£14.95) and I went for my first choice – Duo of Lamb (a hefty £18.95) – after a brief flirtation with the Fish of the Day, which was seabass.

Slow Cooked Pork Belly at Restaurant 1914
Slow Cooked Pork Belly at Restaurant 1914

The pork was marinated in Korean spices and that gave it a sharpness. The dish came with a Middle Eastern hot sauce and coriander cous cous.

My Duo of Lamb was the most expensive main on the menu. Yes, Mr Tight Wad did have to think twice, but he let his belly win over his wallet for once.

A Duo of Lamb at Restaurant 1914
A Duo of Lamb at Restaurant 1914

Good decision, belly. The duo was shepherd’s pie – the finely ground mince and the mash were a wonderful combo – and two lamb cutlets (aka chops).

Both dishes took me back to my childhood. My mother used to make both, and the fat on the side of the lamb chops she’d make really crispy and I’d douse them in homemade mint sauce and crunch them merrily.

This dish was more sophisticated, of course, coming with a lovely red wine jus and set on a bed of subtle red cabbage. I loved the “sticky cabbage” and highly recommend it as a side.

The lamb was delicious and well worth the investment too.

For dessert there was no choice whatsoever. By that I mean it was Sticky Toffee Pudding (£5.25) all the way. Final answer.

Sticky Toffee Pudding at Restaurant 1914
Sticky Toffee Pudding at Restaurant 1914

And it was simply the best sticky toffee pudding I’ve had in years. The sponge was so soft and light I’m sure it could have floated away. The toffee sauce was cool, tangy and delicately sweet while the custard was creamy and delightful.

Put the three together and...I’m lost for words.

Sian had the Lemon Tart (£5.25) with a raspberry sorbet and the lemon flavour was sharp and refreshing. But, lost in the selfish moment of the sticky toffee pudding, I really didn’t care about anything else.

The Lemon Tart at Restaurant 1914
The Lemon Tart at Restaurant 1914

A word of warning. The restaurant is only open on performance days – and the menu changes after September 8. A new menu will be launched from September 17 and DOESN’T include sticky toffee pudding!

It does, however, promise the delights Carrot Cake Cheesecake served with toffee fudge ice cream and Pineapple Upside-Down Cake and custard.

It can feel another step back to 1914 happening very soon.

Everything you need to know

Restaurant 1914, The Alhambra Theatre, Morley Street, Bradford, BD7 1AJ

Tel: 01274 431052

Website: www.bradford-theatres.co.uk/venues/the-alhambra-theatre/eating-and-drinking

Opening hours: On performance days at the Alhambra only: matinees from 12noon and evenings from 5pm.

Children: Welcome

The bill: £55.40 including wine

Would you go back: I refer you to the above answer.