Eighteen stone of idiot he may be, but Johnny Vegas knows his food. Eat where a fat man does, that’s what we always say. Which probably explains why his favourite restaurant Larkins (situated in his hometown of St Helens) is always packed to the rafters.
Johnny Vegas (DVDs) has pretty much cornered the market in overweight, quite possibly permanently drunk comedians. Since his big break doing the Edinburgh Fringe in 1997 he’s slowly climbed the comedy ladder to success. Well, a big fella like that, you’d hardly expect him to shimmy up like Jimmy Carr wearing a gay man’s suit and a cravat, would you?
Despite the odd potato-shaped blip, Vegas has kept it on the straight and narrow with television based comedy – fundamentally as the manic guest of choice on shows like Room 101 and Shooting Stars. He’s also been fronting his own Friday night gig on Channel Four, and by most estimates Eighteen Stone of Idiot has done okay business, even with its nearly midnight slot.
It’s good to see the big man hasn’t lost his roots though. Any time he
trundles back home to St. Helens (down Mersey way) he nips in his local
eatery for a slap-up feed and more gossip than Heat themed chain of hairdressers. Larkins (01744 613731) is
a family run restaurant set inside a delightfully rustic listed
building. Vegas loves their food so much he even raved about it on a
celebrity episode of The Weakest Link. And Anne Robinson still sent him packing.
Larkins (or Larko’s as the thickly accented taxi driver referred to it on hecklerspray‘s visit) is something of local legend. Three time victor of the regional Restaurant of the Year award, quite frankly the place needs Johnny Vegas’s help to sell it like The White Stripes need a keyboard player.
We dined there during the monthly eight-course ‘Diners Club’ evening. Gorgeous traditional French/English food served up by the friendliest staff this side of a Samaritans soup kitchen. The rapidly updated a la carte menu normally comprises a four-course feast and wine list so comprehensive you practically need an index to find your way around it. We can see why Vegas is a fan.
The former Perrier award winner hasn’t had everything his own way during the last few months. He’s often in one the redtops stumbling round like a drunk, prompting eagle eyed reporters to ask (somewhat unimaginatively) "is he drunk?" Could Johnny Vegas be an alcoholic?
We don’t know for sure. It may all be a Dean Martin-style act where he flounders and splutters through sentences in the name of attaining comedy gold. If that is the case then it seems to be working. Plus it never hurt the crooning Italian much either.
Johnny Vegas is a force of nature all right. Not necessarily a guy you’d want making the best man’s speech at your wedding, but he’d still be topping the guest list on the stag night.
The next time you’re in St. Helens, or at least lost trying to find your way through Lancashire’s maze-like road system, look out for the Larkins restaurant somewhere on the corner. You’ll dine like a king and probably want to build a house next door just so you can pop in every day for lunch.
The corner of where? We don’t know, we said we were lost. Give the restaurant a buzz instead, they’ll help you out. Book ahead though, Larkins can get rather busy.
‘A bird never make nest in bare tree‘ we heard some Japanese guy say in a Bond movie once. If you can understand how that makes sense here you’ll probably find the restaurant a lot quicker than we did.
Either that or look out for Johnny Vegas making a bee line. Trust us, you can’t miss him.
[story by Chris Laverty]