Tag Archives: The Metropolitan

Pub Crawls: The Didsbury Dozen

In a few days time I will be 40 years old. I do not fear this milestone, in fact I’m quite looking forward to it for one particular reason. It’s a bloody good excuse to do the Didsbury Dozen again – a famous, or infamous pub crawl.

I’ve done the Didsbury Dozen once before – on my 30th birthday and I’m keen to prove I’ve still got what it takes (which I have, I totally have).

Ten years ago Didsbury was quite a different looking place, pubs and bars have come and gone, some remain and will always be here I hope. This was the order I did the Didsbury Dozen in ten years ago…

  1. The Didsbury
  2. Ye Olde Cock
  3. The Famous Crown
  4. The Royal Oak
  5. The Fletcher Moss
  6. The Pitcher & Piano
  7. The Dog & Partridge
  8. O’Neills
  9. Saints & Scholars
  10. Cafe Rouge
  11. Hog’s Head
  12. Slug & Lettuce

Ten years ago after I’d finished my final pint of the dozen I ended up returning to my favourite pub, The Fletcher Moss to have one last drink for the road. I wonder if I’ll feel like doing that this year?

These days things have changed and there are a couple of decent pubs in West Didsbury I enjoy a pint in, so because it’s my birthday I’ve decided to start proceedings in West Didsbury and then pub crawl towards home in Didsbury village. 

This year the course I’ve plotted looks like this…

  1. The Railway
  2. The Metropolitan
  3. The Greenfinch
  4. Slug & Lettuce
  5. The Station
  6. The Stokers Arms
  7. The Dog & Partridge
  8. The Milson Rhodes
  9. Fletcher Moss
  10. The Royal Oak
  11. The Famous Crown
  12. Bourbon & Black

If the weather is nice there will be some excellent beer gardening opportunities and I’m hoping some of my oldest, newest, bestest and nicest friends will join me along the way. I’m hoping it’ll be a good day to remember and a nice way to round off my 30’s and herald my 40’s.

To make the most of the Didsbury Dozen it’s really important to be disciplined with yourself and your pub crawl team mates. It’s easy to find a sunny spot in a beer garden and not want to leave, or to spend too much time in one place. Someone needs to marshall the troops, check no one is cheating and that you’ve visited 12 establishments before last orders.

My tip is to start early, get three or four pubs or bars under your belt and then have a slow hour in a pub with a good beer garden. Then crank it up again. Stop for a hearty bite to eat to soak up some of the booze and then power through. 

I’ll let you know how I got on, but wish me luck and please raise a glass to the dawning of my next decade. Chin chin.

Didsbury Dozen

Review: The Metropolitan, West Didsbury

Being a born and bred Didsbury girl, and also being something of a certain age, I can remember when The Metropolitan was The Midland Hotel and the best thing on Burton Road was a launderette. I’ve watched the gradual polishing up of West Didsbury over the years, lots of bars, cafes and restaurants have come and gone, but the cornerstone (quite literally) of West Didsbury since 2000 has been The Metropolitan.

For many years I worked around the corner from The Met, popping in for a swift after work drink, or for works lunches and Christmas meals. It’s convenient, they do great cask ales, there’s lots of parking, it’s really family friendly without being a Wacky Warehouse and it’s now little more than a sneeze away from the Metrolink. But is it any good?

I confess it’s been a while since I dined there. I don’t get “up West” as often as I should. There’s a lot to be said for the large and lovely beer garden at The Met, especially on what was the hottest day of the year, or summer as we call it in Manchester.

I met my companion at the bar, where we thirstily supped a cold pint while we waited to be seated at our table in the air conditioned and airy conservatory. It was busy, but not uncomfortably so, and I reckon the sunshine had brought everyone out for the evening, despite the fact it was a Tuesday and a school night.

We ordered starters, me a goats cheese and chive hash brown with apple puree (£5.75) and he the homemade crab cakes, crunchy salad, cucumber salsa (£5.95). As a veggie, I was excited to see something a bit more adventurous on offer for me and I was very pleasantly surprised with my hash brown.

Metropolitan

It was a big, thick, chunky portion, nicely seasoned, cheesy enough but not too goaty, and the apple sauce just made it extra special. I was pretty excited by this. I am beyond bored of blue cheese, mushrooms and veggie tarts, so it was good to find something interesting and different.

Metropolitan

My friend enjoyed his crab cakes. They were obviously homemade, the crab meat was generous and the cucumber relish an excellent foil for the dish. I had a little nibble and I’d quite like to buy a jar of that lovely fresh relish for myself.

Metropolitan

The portions were very generous, probably enough for me for lunch, so do arrive hungry if you want more than one course.

Moving on to the mains, as it was summer and my body is a temple or something, I ordered the Halloumi Superfood salad which included kale, baby spinach, beetroot, orange, pearl cous cous, watercress & toasted pumpkin seeds with a tomato, garlic & oregano dressing (£11.95). It was huge, with great big slabs of perfectly cooked, deliciously salty halloumi.

Metropolitan

Had I known about the generous portion sizes I wouldn’t have ordered the best sweet potato fries in the world (£3.50) as a side, but I did and I didn’t regret it for one moment. Hand cut and definitely not from frozen, the crispy skin-on fries, generously salted they were sweet potato perfection. We were fighting over them in the end.

Metropolitan

My friend ordered the Pan-fried Goosnargh duck breast, cranberry polenta cake, wilted spinach with a redcurrant jus (£15.95). The waiter warned him that it would arrive pink, but this was the only fault in our meal, and it was probably our fault, but the duck was not pink. I’m pretty sure it was our fault because we faffed about and took ages over our first course so the duck was probably being kept warm in the kitchen while we nattered and fiddled about with my camera.

Metropolitan

However, the duck was a beautiful looking dish. It was his first time with polenta, and it was something he enjoyed tremendously. It was riddled with fresh cranberries and the redcurrant jus was glossy and luscious. The duck was thinly sliced and as tender as Elvis’ tender heart.

Somehow we still had room, so we decided to share a pud. I chose the basil and lime cheesecake with lime syrup (£5.95) and it was as pretty as a picture. I don’t normally have a pudding so this was a rare treat. My friend wasn’t sure, but I really was. The basil ran through the cheesecake and there was fresh lime and lime syrup drizzled all over it. It was an excellent palate cleanser and I think would work well with a little bit of tequila in the syrup (or in a shot glass on the side). I’ve had dreams about that cheesecake.

Metropolitan

Our two and a half course meal and a couple of pints cost us £57.10. The portions were incredibly generous and the food was really good quality. This isn’t just your average pub grub, it’s very much a step or two beyond that. The Metropolitan is what every neighbourhood needs, a friendly casual place to hang out, with good food, good drinks and a good beer garden.

The Metropolitan is on 2 Lapwing Lane, West Didsbury, Manchester, M20 2WS. Visit their website to for more information and to view their menus.