The Metropolitan, West Didsbury restaurant review
PUBLISHED: 17:11 20 December 2010 | UPDATED: 14:34 20 February 2013
The Metropolitan, 2 Lapwing Lane, West Didsbury, Manchester M20 2WS. Tel: 0161 374 9559, www.the-metropolitan.co.uk. Barkers Bespoke, tel: 0161 282 6551, www.barkersbespoke.com
A pub serving food in the centre of West Didsbury has to be more than just any old pub, serving any old food. And the Metropolitan on Lapwing Lane offers more, much more. This huge Edwardian railway pub, once known as the Midland, is only a stone's throw from quality restaurants like the Lime Tree and Greens, and it can give them a run for their money.
On a sunny spring evening the roomy, highceilinged bars and dining rooms were busy inside, but the real action was outside, where the biggest umbrellas in the world provide shade and shelter for the packed tables on the modern terrace and around the Stables Bar.
We ate in a dining room separated from the bars by shelves of old books, furnished informally with tables and chairs in keeping with the Edwardian building. The books are useful if conversation flags, as you can always pluck an old volume of the Encyclopaedia Britannica from a shelf and fascinate your friend with a gem of general knowledge.
The menu has something for everyone (including vegetarians) without being overfacing, and the wine list is surprisingly good value. Our starters of ham hock and parsley terrine (5.95), a gorgeous hunk of flavour, and warm, fresh asparagus salad (5.50 from the specials board) were excellent.
Main courses were equally good. Mark's sea bream stuffed with spring onion, ginger, red pepper and basil (12.95) had been fried whole for a crispy skin, leaving the full flavour of the flesh intact, and contrasting well with a passion fruit and chilli coulis. Carefully picking his way through the bones to avoid a Queen Mum-style choking incident, he said it was well worth the effort.
My Parma ham, spring onion and lemon risotto (10.50) was silky and filling, a big bowl of comfort food with well judged textures and flavours. And I could taste the fresh lemon in the dressing on the house side salad (3). The light, delicate taste of a bottle of Pouilly Fume La Renardiere (21) went well with it all. Puddings were a slightly brittle baked cherry cheesecake and a fine Bailey's mousse (both 4.95), after which we moved to the terrace for coffee. Service was efficient throughout, and the bill, with pre-dinner drinks and two glasses of champagne (we were in Didsbury, after all) came to 90.70.
The owners of the Metropolitan have joined forces with the Barker brothers, known for their Nose wine bars in Didsbury, Chorlton and Wilmslow, plus Rosemary Watts, probably the biggest name in the North West for upmarket outside catering, to launch a new 'a la carte' catering service, Barkers Bespoke. They cater for private dinner parties, marquee weddings and major corporate bashes, and all the food is prepared in the kitchens of the Metropolitan.
Judging by our meal there, that's a guarantee of quality.
The Metropolitan, 2 Lapwing Lane, West Didsbury, Manchester M20 2WS. Tel: 0161 374 9559, www.the-metropolitan.co.uk.
Barkers Bespoke, tel: 0161 282 6551, www.barkersbespoke.com