I ate at a popular Lancashire Italian restaurant and was left with a case of severe plate envy

My daughter's chicken pizza was far better than my own
-Credit: (Image: LancsLive)


Our unplanned meal out at San Marino in Belmont almost didn't happen at all.

My daughter, her friend and I were driving along the A675 between the M65 and Belmont when, all of a sudden, the cars in front of us suddenly halted with the unmistakeable glimmer of blue lights flashing ahead. After around 10 minutes, some impatient motorists gave up and did a 50-point turn in the road, and I was considering following suit.

But then I realised I would have to swiftly conjure up a remotely healthy and nutritious meal from the meagre ingredients in my fridge. So, instead, I called 101 and asked the police what we should do.

While the helpful call-handler was unable to give us any specific details about what had happened; understandably so, she did advise that the police officers "might" be clearing the road of debris and suggested we wait another 15 minutes.

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Her foresight was accurate and, only about 20 minutes after our table had been booked for, we arrived at San Marino. It was only 6.30pm but it was incredibly busy. And I know why.

Although it's a little off the beaten track, while only 20 minutes or so from our home, San Marino is a bit out of the way and with the road potentially closed my mind had raced to think of alternative routes. Going all the way back to Darwen and through Tockholes wasn't an option for me so I'm glad the traffic eventually cleared.

Belmont is one of those strange places which doesn't seem to quite know where it belongs. It's part of Blackburn with Darwen but properties have a Bolton area code and it's on the verge of Chorley. Strictly speaking, the closest town is Darwen, but it feels much further away.

San Marino is like that glass of wine after a busy day at work or a lengthy listen to Smooth FM: the results are predictably good. As is San Marino.

The girls had a pizza and chicken pizza while I, feeling adventurous, opted for the San Marino pizza: gorgonzola, prosciutto di crudo ham and olives. I love all three ingredients but, as I came to discover, not all in one mouthful.

My San Marino pizza (£14.95)
My San Marino pizza (£14.95) -Credit:LancsLive

Given that we were already 'late' in getting home on a school night I urged the girls to eat their tea quickly and restrict their countless toilet visits. And, in between, I ate my own pizza.

With each mouthful I questioned why on earth they would choose to have three salty ingredients on the same pizza. There wasn't enough cheese either which is why I, shamefully, helped myself to a slice of my daughter's chicken pizza on one of their many trips to the ladies.

The girls' pizzas had far more cheese on them and each mouthful was a delight. I felt almost embarrassed at having plate envy.

Our three pizzas each, as well as a side salad, portion of fries and three drinks came to a reasonable £44. But I couldn't help lament my choice of pizza topping.