Slobbering-under-the-Bed has one Indian-ish restaurant. The Euthanasia Curry House. I say Indian-ish because it serves a range of dishes that no native Indian would recognise but are staples of the British diet.
The restaurant was discovered one night by Roth after he left a particularly unsuccessful buffet at The Wrong-Topping Pizzeria. It was right next to my favourite (partly because it was the only one in town, but mostly because it was cheap) Chinese restaurant, Happiness. Neither of us could remember seeing it before, nor did we have any idea what kind of shop or eatery was there before.
Some days after we ate there the first time, we tried to find it using my Sat-Nav. It couldn't actually find it, but plotted a route via Basingstoke and Luton. This was perfectly normal, it did the same for every location. If it was switched to shortest route mode, it included Edinburgh and Southend in the journey. We tried finding the Euthanasia on council planning maps. It wasn't there, there wasn't even a gap for it. Happiness butted directly up to The Big Blister Walking and Hiking Emporium. We got an arial photograph. It wasn't there. Maybe we need to hire a hot-air balloon.
Maybe this general not existingness was responsible for the ambiance we found on our first visit.
The Euthanasia had a cavernous interior. Little private bays heading back as far as the eye could see. It was quite full of diners. Waiters were bringing out dishes that flamed, sizzled and very occasionally exploded with a small mushroom cloud surrounded by miniature flashes of lightening.
A very sharply dressed waiter greeted us. Combined with Roth's fine suit, I was convinced I'd been doorstepped by a fringe religion. "Table for two sirs", he said. We nodded. I believed.
He showed us to an empty bay, and produced two menus. He removed the glass shade from a table candle holder, released the catch and the candle sprung up. He lit it, and pushed it back into the body of the lamp. It was clearly sprung loaded to keep the flame at the same level. Nice touch. I hoped the heated napkins were as good.
We ordered starters. Roth had a thing on a stick. I ordered pterodactyl burgers. Whilst we were eating other guests were being shown to their tables. One chap had a very pale face, a fine tailed evening suit and slicked black hair. "Vlad", cried the waiter, "How was the snooker match?" "Fine" he muttered as he took his seat. "Can you keep the light down low, please?"
Too intrigued to do otherwise we'd both ordered the special. Actually it was listed as the Very Special. The waiter said the dish was "very delicately spiced by their expert chef and spice master" "from a distance of 37 miles", he added under his breath. The waiter arrived wearing a Hazmat suit and pushing a trolley supporting two large lead containers. Using steel tongs he lifted the lid on the first container. He carefully removed a balti dish and placed it between us. Ever so carefully he removed the other balti dish and placed it down at a safe distance from the first. He turned and ran, shouting "Enjoy" at the top of his lungs.
More regulars arrived. "Mr Lucan", enthused another waiter, "How's your missing person's agency going?". "Oh, so-so", he replied before taking a seat carefully shielded by a huge pot-plant.
Our two dishes then shot a column of flame straight at the ceiling in unison. When the pool of smoke cleared, there were two neatly burned circles on the ceiling tiles. The sprung loaded candle took this moment to spring up and extinguish itself by embedding in the ceiling.
For a restaurant I'd never even seen before this was quite stunningly popular. Regulars were arriving every few minutes. "Mr Kirk, how was your day at the office?" "Bit of a no-win scenario. You know how it is..."
Well, a finer curry I have never tasted. Waiters would come by occasionally to see if were still enjoying our meal, to ensure we were still alive and to replace forks that had dissolved too badly to be used. "Would sir like a CO2 extinguisher with his meal?" "Oh, ta. Thanks."
Roth paid, unfolding four huge white five pound notes.
As we left, we heard a waiter greeting another regular "Mr Methuselah, your usual table sir? Did you know you are our oldest customer?" "Really?"