Today was a very Good Friday (see what I did there). Not only did I manage a 9am lie in, but I also got to amble over to The Stoker’s Arms in Didsbury for their soft opening. I went with my chum Liz, aka Things To Do In Manchester and I was pretty keen to check out the latest Didsbury opening.
It’s where O’Neills used to be, but they’ve completely ripped out the old faux-Irish interior and replaced it with a lovely, eclectic mix of comfy furniture and they’ve brightened the whole place up. The bar is pretty huge and looks like it’ll be able to cope when it’s three deep on a Saturday night.
But we really went to try the food. At first glance there didn’t seem to be much on for vegetarians, but I was told that there would be plenty coming up in the next few weeks as the menu evolves. We ordered a round of G&Ts and gave the menu a proper once over.
I ordered the soup of the day, which on this day was a tomato and red pepper, served with a warm wedge of bread and a pat of salty butter. Liz went for the salt and pepper squid. I loved my soup, it was hearty and robust and had I been in the comfort of my own home I probably would have licked the bowl clean. Liz enjoyed her squid, which was perfectly cooked but she thought could do with a bit more punch in the seasoning.
I ordered the vegetarian gnocchi, but it turned out there was none left in the kitchen, so I went for the as yet not mentioned on the menu, lentil and bean burger, served with coleslaw and fries. Liz had the pork and chorizo burger topped with extra pulled pork, which again came with fries.
I’m often really disappointed with veggie burgers, they can be really bland, but this was lovely, full of lentils and with a gentle tickle of spice, I’d very cheerfully order it again, in fact my mouth is watering while I’m typing this…always a good sign.
Liz’s pork and chorizo burger looked and smelt great. You’d have to read her blog for her exact thoughts on it, but she did say it was a good burger and she did leave a virtually clean plate.
We’d both consumed two hearty courses, so naturally we decided to have pudding. We decided to share a salted caramel and chocolate tart, which came with a dollop of clotted cream. It was amazing. I have a serious salted caramel habit and this was a particularly fine example. The top of the tart was scattered with salt crystals and it was unctuous and just divine. It’s worth visiting just to have that tart.
The food was really good value. They do a three course fixed price menu which is a bargain at just £11. It’s not shonky pub-grub either. I couldn’t find any mention of scampi and chips!
They have a decent list of gins and whiskeys and a good range of draught and bottled beers and ciders. I reckon The Stoker’s Arms will be finding its way onto my list of preferred local watering holes.
The Stoker’s Arms is located at 655-657 Wilmslow Road, Didsbury, Manchester, M20 6RA
Disclaimer: We were invited guests of The Stoker’s Arms and we weren’t asked to pay for any of our food or drink. However, these are as ever my honest thoughts and opinions.