If you cast your mind back to Sunday just gone, you will recall it was nothing short of a stinker. Torrential rain and strong, gusty winds: the kind of day when you draw the blinds and the room remains just as dark as it was before. Tempting to stay indoors, obviously - whereas of course what one ACTUALLY needs to do in such a situation is to venture bravely outside to seek sunshine in the form of tapas.
Now, Didsbury village does not really have much of a track record when it comes to tapas. Yes, Casa Tapas is pretty good, but the tapas I have had at the new(ish) Expo Lounge has been very mixed in quality, and I doubt that many mourn the late, unlamented La Tasca, where I once had a meal so oily it actually made me sick. So we welcome Nido, Didsbury's newest tapas bar, with welcoming but cautious arms, wary of disappointment whilst also willing them to succeed. And on the evidence of Sunday's launch party, the signs are promising - although it is admittedly hard to judge properly when all the furniture is pushed to the sides of the room like a wedding disco and the food comes in the form of a constant, unfettered taster buffet.
Still, a jug of Sangria is EXACTLY what you want to be greeted with when entering ANY premises, and the staff couldn't be more charming - this is clearly a highly family-oriented operation, and I reckon that when the tables are set out normally the atmosphere would be pretty convivial. As far as the food goes, the dishes we tried were perhaps a little on the predictable side, but were generally done extremely well - and to be fair, catering for a constant stream of grazers over a four hour period is never going to show the true abilities of any chef. Stand-out dishes included an excellent tortilla and some properly gooey croquetas de jamon; they also served up a very tasty sausage and a very good Jamon Iberico that I am already looking forward to trying again. The only real disappointment was the paella, which was a little bland and on the claggy side - and the aioli served on the side was delicious at the time but was so strong that when I met my friends later at the pub they refused to speak to me and made me stand outside with some old men. Well, metaphorically speaking, anyway. We also tried a couple of desserts, including a superb torrija - essentially a gloriously eggy, custardy piece of fried bread. I assume it was just mine that had a distinct aftertaste of garlic.
Nido opened in August and has seen a slow start to trading, perhaps because no-one really knows they're there yet - and apparently some of the customers they have had in have failed to notice the change of ownership from the Istanbul Grill and been disappointed when they've tried to order a kebab. On the basis of what I tried on Sunday, I will definitely give Nido a re-visit - if only for the amusement of trying to order a kebab and then laughing heartily at my own hilarity...
Nido is at 786 Wilmslow Road, Didsbury, M20 2DR; tel 0161 4489503 - you can check out the full menu here. We were invited as guests of the restaurant and not asked to pay for any of our food and drink.