FORGET mistletoe and wine – it was all about manoj and gulab jamon when Sir Cliff Richard stopped by a city curry house.
The Summer Holiday singer celebrated his 71st birthday with a meal at Bollywood Lounge on Smyth Street on Thursday.
Sir Cliff was staying in the city with soul stars Freda Payne, Lamont Dozier, Jaki Graham and Percy Sledge as part of preparations for his Soulicious tour, which began on Saturday.
The group chose the award-winning Smyth Street restaurant for the singer’s celebratory meal.
Sir Cliff chose a manoj, a medium dish from Afghanistan, and a traditional Indian desert, gulab jamon with yoghurt.
Restaurant manager Fayzul Islam said: “Sir Cliff thought the food was outstanding.
“He is a connoisseur, he eats a lot of Indian food when he’s travelling around.
“He said he would give us a gold star.”
And Sir Cliff must have been impressed as When a Man Loves a Woman legend Percy Sledge also chose the restaurant the next evening on his recommendation.
Sir Cliff and his tour party stayed at the Waterton Park Hotel, Walton Hall, while rehearsing for the tour at the LS-Live Studio in South Kirkby, previously used by Lady Gaga.
Kate Clough, sales manager at the hotel, said: “He was really nice, such a lovely man. They all were. I’m absolutely a fan, of course.”
The hotel staff presented Sir Cliff with cake and a bottle of Champagne alongside their own rendition of Eurovision 1968 classic Congratulations.
And generous Sir Cliff gave some members of staff front row tickets to his Nottingham concert, the opening night of the tour, as a thank you.
The performers stayed at the hotel from Monday until Friday last week.