You know it's summer when you find yourself sitting outside The Didsbury with a glass of Prosecco and a husband who, for once, is not doing a dramatic shiver every few moments and looking pointedly at the inside of the pub. Such was the case last night; appropriate really, as we had been invited to sample the enticing new summer menu that landlord Paul Johnson is justly proud of.
Our dinner companions were the lovely Pete and Helen from Didsbury Life; they know everybody, and more or less run Didsbury, as well as being able to put away a splendid quantity of wine when required. We all agreed that the new menu is pleasingly eclectic; you could eat here every night for a month (well, in theory you could - my husband will not permit it) and have something different every night.
As usual, when I look back upon what I chose I am reminded that I should really be living in the 1970s: prawn cocktail at Room on Thursday (albeit a fancy dan one) and pate followed by an 8oz sirloin steak at The Didsbury (I even added a stilton sauce to my order, just to ensure retro consistency). The pate was delicious and actually came with enough toast to accommodate it all - it always amazes me when restaurants serve pate with a miniscule sliver of bread, as if you might like to eat a big slab of pate on its own. Pete also chose the pate (excellent choice sir), Helen had the garlic mushrooms, and my husband had all the whitebait he could salvage after I had snaffled about half of them.
A reliable indicator of a restaurant's quality is whether your steak is done correctly, especially if two of you on the same table have different preferences. Here The Didsbury passed with flying colours - my steak was definitely rare and my husband's medium-rare, exactly as requested. The meals on the other side of the table looked just as good, although some of us had trouble finishing due to the very generous portion sizes (although no problem for the boys, I noticed). For the second night running, I had no room for pudding; a previously unheard-of phenomenon which makes me feel bizarrely and unjustifiably virtuous.
So many thanks to Mr J for putting on such a great new menu, and also for listening to my pleas to start selling Prosecco by the glass. I suspect a good part of my summer will be spent here on the Green, glass of fizz in hand, just testing that menu one more time.
- see the full menu online at www.thedidsbury.co.uk
- marvel at the wisdom of Pete and Helen at www.didsburylife.com