There are so many Mannings out there at the moment that when David Elliott of Bad Elephant Music asked if anyone would fancy meeting up for a curry with the Mannings while they were in London, I did wonder who I would be eating with. It was a curry, so it was a given that I would be going along (having been invited to this one…). So would it be Peyton Manning or Eli Manning, or maybe both of them with their parents;
or would it be Bradley Manning, escaped and on the run, seeking asylum in a curry house, which is clearly a much better idea than the Ecuadorian Embassy; just so long as it was not Bernard Manning, although he might be funnier these days.
So it was that I found myself across the road from Sheba on Brick Lane at 1830 on a Tuesday evening, awaiting the arrival of the mysterious Mannings. I spotted David coming down the road with an entourage. I guessed that the lady with him must be his wife, Yvette (and thankfully for him it was), but who was the tall chap walking behind them ? It surely could not be their son, Huw, because he looks much shorter on his Facebook profile. And who were the shadowy figures quickly ushered into the eating establishment ?
They must have been the Mannings, infamous by now ! I would have to go inside myself to find out more. And to have a curry, because I was hungry.
It was Huw – either he has grown or the Interwebz is far away. And the puzzle had been solved, because even though he was not wearing a hat, it was very clearly Guy Manning sitting there with his family – hurrah ! The Manning who made number 10 famous.
And very soon after I had walked in we were joined by Alison, and then by Simon Godfrey (of Tinyfish and Shineback fame), who was sporting a very nifty Knifeworld tshirt.
With a collection of people like that our conversation obviously passed through Prog and music in general, and specifically the forthcoming album from Manning, ‘The Root, The Leaf And The Bone’, and some more ideas around Shineback, then moved onto IT matters and the continuing problems with Simon’s computer, which he has turned off and on again but still it will not work properly. To be honest, I am baffled. Later into the meal we were joined by Alison’s friend, Brian, and the conversation moved on to a discussion of various countries including France, Germany, Poland, Finland and Estonia. It was all very enjoyable and informative.
The food itself was excellent, if somewhat different to my usual experience of Indian restaurant menus. I hardly recognised anything from the speciality dishes, which made choosing something more difficult because I had too much to choose from. The banner outside proclaimed that it was the Best Curry House In The UK 2013, but it was still reassuring to receive a message from a friend of mine, Dipesh, saying that the menu looked amazing, and I decided to go down the king prawn route, with the king prawn butterfly starter and the king prawn delight for my main course.
They were both delicious and I would highly recommend eating at Sheba. I also spotted item 64 on the menu, Lahore Gohst, which is uncannily Prog. Ask Mark Spencer if you want to know why.
You can see more photographs from the evening here.