It’s not often that the law abiding among us find ourselves in a police station on a night out.
Of course, there have been times during one’s professional career when it has been necessary to flit in and out of the odd police HQ.
But I can say with some certainty that I’ve never been placed in the cell on a busy Friday night!
That is one of your options should you plan for dinner at La Corte Italian restaurant in Leyland.
It is situated in the town’s former police base and you can actually have a private dining experience in a cell.
It takes all sorts!
But actually the new owners, Franco and Angela, have ensured some of the best parts of this traditional building, including some lovely stained glass windows and a host of little rooms, have been kept.
It makes for an eclectic dining experience, but, along with the delicious food, this is part of the charm.
And La Corte doesn’t just look to the surroundings to pay homage to its roots.
One lady was celebrating a birthday on the night we dined and we were all invited to sing along as she was given a policeman’s helmet to wear and a truncheon to wave.
Great fun – as the pictures taken on mobiles all over the room will attest for years to come.
We had ordered glasses of beer and wine as well as a garlic bread with tomato to share as we perused the menu. Wafer thin and piping hot, it was gobbled up immediately.
There is a great choice of all the usual Italian pizza and pasta favourites, plus some delicious-sounding meat and fish dishes on the main menu and the specials blackboard.
We kept it pretty traditional to start, with a couple of portions of garlic stuffed mushrooms, bruschetta with tomatoes and for me, the calamari.
All were plentiful and quite delicious.
The calamari was freshly cooked for a few minutes and perfectly al dente. Top marks.
We continued the theme with our main courses.
A spicy salami pizza, pasta primavera from the specials board, spaghetti carbonara and a calzone pizza, packed with ham, mushroom and salami, which wasn’t on the menu but offered up when requested.
The pizza bases were thin and crispy as desired and the primavera packed with lovely spring vegetables for the vegetarian among our party of four.
I had opted for the carbonara as it is always a good test of an Italian restaurant and I wasn’t disappointed.
The sauce was creamy and luscious, while the al dente spaghetti had clearly been added right at the last minute to maintain a great texture.
There was no room for pudding.
In fact, a couple of us had to be helped out to finish the generous portions.
The total bill, including a couple more rounds of drinks, was £104 for four and there are special deals on Tuesdays, Wednesday and Sunday evenings, plus a Thursday steak night and a £6 lunch deal.
Good value all round. It would be a crime not to give it a try...