As anyone born in the seventies knows, food on sticks is quite the classiest way to eat. I recall all too clearly the stress of the annual popularity contest that was the birthday party, where you were judged (mercilessly) on just three things: the quality of the going-home bag; whether there was a gift in EVERY layer of the pass the parcel; and just how big your pineapple and cheese hedgehog was. If you've never watched your mum patiently poke cholesterol-laden cocktail sticks into a foil-covered orange, then the rest of this post is not for you and you may leave.
Anyone still remaining will understand the excitement of the "pinchos" concept - tasty morsels speared onto cocktail sticks (a "pincho" is a "spike" in Spanish) just asking to be snaffled up whilst standing at a bar quaffing large quantities of ice-cold beer. Now the very enterprising Joe Maddock of Pinchjo's Tapas Bar on Burton Road has decided to bring this commendably laid-back style of dining to West Didsbury, and judging by the enthusiastic troughing at tonight's launch do, he might just be on to something.
Bearing in mind that anything eaten whilst standing up contains neither fat nor calories, the "stick meal" is certainly something I can embrace. I have eaten all manner of delicious items this evening - highlights included excitingly salty courgette-wrapped anchovies (vegetable item, therefore = healthy) and quiveringly beautiful tortilla studded with bacon and potato. The idea is a bit like Yo! Sushi - you grab anything you like the look of as it wafts past, and then you pay for the number of cocktail sticks left on your plate at the end of your meal. The potential pitfalls are clear for all to see - no place to hide for the greedy - but it's great fun nevertheless, and perfect for annoying people like myself who are incapable of narrowing down their dinner choices to just one dish.
The mood at Pinchjo's is relaxed and friendly, and Joe makes for a genial host. Next time the sun is shining, I'm definitely going back to pretend that I am actually a chic Spanish lady dining in an oh-so-European manner; full details are at www.pinchjos.co.uk, or you can follow Joe on Twitter - http://twitter.com/pinchjos. Just off now to dig out my espadrilles....