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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.