Living in Chester comes with many perks: a range of fine eateries, beautiful scenery and plenty of things to keep you entertained.
One of the most popular destinations for tourists in Chester is the racecourse. Usually, I visit the racecourse for traditional race days throughout the summer months. But because our summer was so frantic, we couldn’t get Mum and Dad down to the races and so this week, Alex and I decided that we would venture out and try pastures new at the Polo for the Roodee Cup final.
We packed up our basket with treats of rose champagne and dark chocolate (SUCH a killer combo) and headed on down.
Chester Racecourse itself is beautiful, set against the rolling hills of Cheshire with views which carry on in to Wales, running alongside the River Dee; it is well worth a visit if you ever get the chance.
Although lovers of horses and avid horse riders, we have never spent a full day at a polo match. We were worried we wouldn’t recall any rules, wouldn’t follow the game itself and would possibly end up sitting there guzzling our booze, nibbling away at our picnic and looking rather like fish out of water.
Thankfully, polo is a rather easy game to follow and thanks to our quick-witted and silver-tongued commentator, any misunderstandings we had were quickly cleared up.
The first match saw teams from MBNA and LTC take each other on in order to decide who took 3rd and 4th place for the Cup.
At the end of the first half, the commentator invited everyone to take to the pitch and stand on the ground for divot stomping. Divots made by the horses can churn up the ground and batter it out of shape, so in we come to help iron out any bumps and put things back tickety-boo as they were. Aside from the fact that stomping on the ground is an awesome way to alleviate stress, another little incentive for spectators to get involved in this half time fun is the possibility of winning a bottle of Laurent Perrier, should you find the silver cork.
Unfortunately for us, we didn’t win. Fortunately though, we did instead indulge in some rather delicious treats.
The bond between horse and rider is one that as ever, was evident to see. To me, these creatures are so completely mesmerising and the players so skilled, that they make each movement seem effortless. In real life however, I imagine it is a very different story.
The level of talent moved up a notch in the Final itself, which was between Stella Artois and IDF. Fast- paced, skilful and passionate, the match was captivating to watch. Players gave it everything they had, changing preferred ponies to better their play as the match progressed.
IDF went on to win the final, which was a very close tie at 6-5.
Aside from the normal ‘MVP’, there is also a ‘Pony of the Match’ award, which this little guy won!
Once the game was done, we sat in the early Autumnal sunshine finishing our chats and bubbles.
A bit too late to sit out, a bit too early for dinner, we decided to go to Corks Out on Watergate Row.
Now, if you have a Corks Out near you AND are friends with a wine enthusiast, then you are on to a winner, my friend! The beauty of Corks Out, beside from the surroundings and you know, the obvious (wine), is that that the staff are really friendly and helpful. Sometimes in a place like this, it can be a little…well, overwhelming, trying to decide what you should drink The choices of wines are extensive and the staff will talk you through options you might like.
Another good thing about this particular shop-cum-bar, is that they offer a ‘taste card’, which is kind of like a gift card but gives you access to wine! BEST. IDEA. EVER. You can choose from a selection of wines- red, white and rosé- and have a little smidgen of any one that takes your fancy. Choose your colour, choose your grape, choose your size (from 50cl, 125cl or 175cl) and away you go!
Time passed and there’s only so long my mum could go on pretending she wasn’t salivating at the thought of her favourite restaurant, Barton Rouge. So, after a few drinks we thought we were ready for a bite to eat and made our way across town.
As huge fans of spicy food, Barton Rouge combines some of our favourite aspects of eating out: fresh tasting, great quality food served in beautiful surroundings by friendly, helpful staff. I have never had a bad meal there, and I have eaten there…A LOT.
I didn’t manage to get any pictures of the meal itself as my battery died, so you’ll have to take my recommendations instead (presuming you don’t mind your curries with a kick!): Shashlik Karahi Chicken, Lamb Nagpur and King Prawn Harapyaz. Each dish we chose tasted fresh and had a unique combination of flavours that worked together to create a moreish, perfectly balanced dish. Not to mention that the meat served is always of a high standard and so tender that it holds the flavours beautifully, before falling apart in your mouth.
As it was early doors, we managed to nip in before the big Saturday night rush; like most places in Chester, if you don’t book on Saturdays it is very unlikely you will manage to walk in, so don’t leave it to chance!
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