“MARCO Pierre White, eat your heart out!” boomed a voice in the cavernous dining room.
Its owner, a well upholstered man with heavy jowls and ruddy complexion, had presented me with a plate of broiled chicken and potatoes accompanied by a bottle of Kwik Save’s finest.
'The herbivore opposite munched on a pizza margharita (£9.50) much like a contented bovine'
I was in a rambling house on the outskirts of Windsor, having been redirected there by the hotel which had no record of my reservation or any rooms to spare.
I had been met at the door by my host for the evening who ushered me in while delivering his introduction: “My name is Mosely.”
“Any relation?” I ventured.
“Yes”, he affirmed, “Sir Oswald. Dinner will be at 10pm.”
Frankie's Bar And Grill
What transpired was one of the strangest encounters I’ve ever experienced.
All this happened years ago, but was brought sharply back into focus on seeing Mr White’s name above the door at his new restaurant collaboration with jockey Frankie Dettori.
The pair already have ventures in London and Dubai so Hoylake is not necessarily the next place you would think of spreading the word.
Nevertheless here it is, snugly sitting as part of the new £5.5m Holiday Inn Express development, just a pinshot away from the Royal Liverpool golf club.
It has replaced the old King’s Gap Hotel, the place where I sampled the finest ever bottle of wine for a fiver - the extraordinary Miguel Torres Santa Digna cabernet sauvignon rose. A lot to live up to then, at least in my mind.
The restaurant lies at the front of the development enabling it to catch the eye of passing trade. Turn left at reception into a sophisticated eating area and bar with patio doors opening into a garden area.
This being a Mediterranean-type afternoon, under a blazing sun, the outdoor area was the obvious option as a gaggle of elderly ladies cooled their fevered brows in the cooker-like interior, the amount of glazing attractive but acting like a greenhouse with the doors firmly closed.
A couple of soft drinks were slugged back while some olives (£2.75) and bread (£2.75) nibbles helped awaken the appetite as we devoured the menu featuring classic Italian dishes, handmade pizzas, steaks and pescatore.
I mulled over the possibilities as a greenfly danced on my nose and a slug meandered by, the hazards of outdoor eating I guess. Actually the garden is pretty plain, definitely needs some colour and the grass needed trimming.
A round of garlic bread (£2.75) seemed appropriate it arrived promptly and was thin and crispy. Munching away, I had begun telling my companion that visiting an MPW venue had rekindled memories of that peculiar night in Windsor.
My host that evening wove an astonishing tale involving the Masters of the Universe, a world Jewish conspiracy, the illuminati, the Bilderberg Group and of course conspiracies about 9/11 which had just taken place. Clearly a chip of the old Mosley block.
He didn’t reveal exactly who he was but did admit to writing theories about world power under the pen name Alexander Niles ( Google him). Funnily enough Sir Oswald, fascist and leader of the Blackshirts, had two sons; celebrity and Nazi fancy dresser Max and a reclusive chap called Alexander......hhhmmm....
I left in the morning staggering under a ton of his self-penned pamphlets before heading off to Ascot races. I think they’re gathering mould in the garden shed at the moment.
This trip down memory lane was really stoking up the appetite and, being beside the sea, it had to be fish for me. As my old dad used to say, you can tune a piano but you can’t tuna fish.
The tuna steak with new potatoes and rucloa (£15.50) struck a real chord, rising to the occasion like a salmon leaping upstream. A drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil and a few flakes of parmesan added a piquant touch to the dish.
The herbivore opposite munched on a pizza margharita (£9.50) much like a contented bovine.
I swilled down a glass of pinot grigio (£7.25) with the fishy dishy but had to keep my sensible head on as the old banger was parked nearby, bringing down the tone of the neighbourhood.
Five year old Kate was scoffing away on the kids menu (£7.50 for three courses), making light work of a plate of chips and piccatore - otherwise known as chicken nuggets.
It was only right that the dessert (£4.95) offerings should be sampled. Double chocolate truffle cake was greedily vacuumed up while the New York cheesecake wasn’t far behind.
Service was exceptionally friendly.
Thoroughly pleasant meal in a great location - don’t try the garden in a downpour though.
Follow Barry Turnbull on Twitter at @grizzlepuss
Frankie's Bar & Grill, Kings Gap Road, Wirral, CH47 1HE 0151 632 2073
They had us in on a hosted visit, so we won't be scoring it. But the sentiments are genuine. Make up your own minds and let us know.