I recently made the acquaintance of a young couple who had enjoyed a return trip to Paradise.
Two years earlier they had spent their honeymoon in Barbados and had vowed to return, this time with an itinerary.
One of their 'must-dos' was a visit to The Cliff, a restaurant which is as famous for its prices as its quality.
The couple were not rich, but they were happy to pay upwards of £100-per-head for a one-off experience, all the more impressive considering they were staying in an all-inclusive hotel which nightly offered excellent fare.
They reported back that it was money well spent (although they would not be going again).
I was intrigued. Just what did they get for their £200 plus? Turns out the food was excellent, as you would expect for that sort of outlay, the surroundings were impressive and the views spectacular.
But what had really floated their boat was the fact that they had a waiter to themselves. All night.
Well I have news for that couple - I have gone one better. On Friday night, Beverley and I enjoyed excellent food in super surroundings - and we had an entire restaurant to ourselves!
We had obviously stumbled upon Chester's best kept secret.
Ignore the naff name - Thaixotic on Newgate Street is a real treat.
A warm night had brought the crowds flocking to the city centre and as we walked past Est Est Est and Zizi they were humming with atmosphere and bustle that was spilling out into the street.
So why was Thaixotic, sited in the middle of the thriving Lower Bridge Street/Pepper Street restaurant quarter so neglected when it is difficult to reserve a Friday night table in neighbouring establishments? It might be hidden away from tourists, but surely most Cestrians know it is there. Was the evening going to be a disaster?
Thaixotic shares an entrance with Buffet City and there was a hint of surprises to come when we startled the charming meet and greet lady.
Thaixotic shares an entrance, and presumably a kitchen, with Buffet City and she held open the Buffet City door before doing a quick double take and scampering across to usher us up the stairs when she realised where we were heading - even she was obviously not expecting customers for the Thai part of the business.
We were greeted by a beautifully-decorated room - all dark brown wood and subdued lighting. We were grateful for the air conditioning and admired the wooden wall carvings.
Beverley was particularly taken with the toilets (you can't miss them, just turn left at the elephant's head), which she described as trendy but immaculate. A trendy toilet! But she was right.
A quick glance at the menu informed us Thaixotic is not particularly cheap, but it is one of those crafty affairs you can work in your favour - it doesn't have to be expensive either.
I enjoyed a Singha beer (£2.80) while Beverley took her time perusing - we were not in any hurry and the staff were hardly rushed off their feet.
House white wine was £12.90 but we opted for pinot grigiot at £17.90, a tad expensive, but it proved to be one of the best whites I have sampled in a long time.
Unfortunately, the night didn't get off to the best of starts.
I ordered hoy todd, deep fried mussels in batter on a hot plate (£5.50). I have had Thai battered mussels before and been impressed by the delicate texture.
While these mussels were excellent, I can't say the same about the batter. It was the sort of thick and stodgy gunk that gives takeaway sweet and sour pork a bad name.
I diligently picked the delicious mussel meat from the mess - much to the consternation of our attentive and charming waitress.
I pointed out the problem and to her great credit she agreed - hopefully she relayed the message to the kitchen.
Beverley's starter was a different story. Her tod-man pla (£6.50), spicy fish cakes with kaffir lime leaf, pickled vegetables and crushed peanuts was beautiful. Firm without being rubbery, it was an excellent choice.
My main course chose itself. Pla-ka pong nung-ma now - and that might be easy for you to say - is steamed sea bass with chilli, lemon and garlic, one of the more expensive items on the menu at £18.
What can I say. It was magnificent. The dismal batter was soon a distant memory as I attacked a marvellous serving. One of our two personal waiters (at one time we had three to ourselves!) recommended jasmin rice at £2 as an accompaniment. It proved perfect.
Beverley ordered the prawn gaeng-paa, intriguingly described as jungle curry (£8.50) with egg fried rice £2.50.
Our waitress was halfway to the kitchen with the order before scuttling back to warn us, in that charming Thai manner, that the curry was very spicy. She had obviously never heard of Beverley the asbestos-gulleted dragon lady, scourge of Indian restaurants across the north of England.
The curry WAS spicy - although not enough to intimidate an habitual faal guzzler. It was also delicious. As usual I tried a sample and jungle curry is now definitely on my to-do list.
So why was Thaixotic so empty? We pondered the question as we enjoyed the final touch, a complimentary plate of melon, watermelon, orange and some mysterious fruit that looked like frozen frogspawn. Beverley reckoned it tasted like frozen frogspawn too, but I happily finished it off.
Thaixotic is immaculately appointed, the food is as good as anything I have had recently and the staff were superb. Even the background music was good.
At this point I have a confession to make. We visited after The Chronicle received a letter from a Mrs K Paice of Kirkby Lonsdale who had stumbled upon Thaixotic and was as puzzled as us about the lack of fellow diners.
We spent an excellent two hours, and although Thaixotic is not the cheapest restaurant around we were completely won over. To Mrs Paice, thankyou.
To the foodies of Chester: Go there and enjoy - this place should succeed.
* Thaixotic Thai Restaurant, 25, Newgate Street, Chester, 01244 348448.
* Beer, wine, two courses (plus complimentary plate of fruit) £66.50.
* Best thing: Excellent surroundings, food and service.
* Worst thing: Some dishes and wines slightly pricey.
* Would suit: Anyone who loves good food in excellent and friendly surroundings.