Thursday, 14 July 2016

No foreign muck here

Contrary to popular rumour, I don’t actually spent all my leisure time sitting in dingy pubs, and last Sunday I went along to Didsbury Car Show, where a friend was exhibiting his classic car. If you have any interest in cars, this annual event is well worth attending, with free admission and over 200 cars on display, ranging from exotic supercars to the family favourites of our childhood. Here’s a rather unflattering picture of me inspecting a 1970 Renault Alpine:

At lunchtime, we wandered down to nearby Didsbury Green for a bite to eat and ended up in the Olde Cock. One thing that struck me about the menu was how resolutely “traditional British” it was, with the possible exception of the Falafel, Sweet Potato, Kale & Quinoa, which sounds like a parody dish. Not a sign of a lasagne, pizza or curry, let alone anything Chinese, Moroccan or Mexican. The typical Brunning & Price menu is far more wide-ranging. The menu in the Didsbury across the road was similar, but about £2 more for each dish.

I’ve written in the past about how pubs were in danger of boxing themselves into a corner of being the English Ethnic Restaurant. Now, obviously pubs are entitled to serve whatever menus they want, but I can’t help thinking that something that might appeal in a Cheshire village or a National Park may not be the right thing for cosmopolitan Didsbury.

It was reassuring to see a young couple sitting in the pub playing Scrabble. Didsbury wouldn’t be Didsbury without that. No doubt they have a Jenga set somewhere as well.

I had a pint of Mobberley Roadrunner which was perfectly good, although one of my companions went straight for the Greene King IPA pump. I didn’t notice the price as I wasn’t paying, but I’d bet it was considerably nearer to four pounds than three.

9 comments:

  1. unreliable cars, unreliable beer. what other unreliable things can a hobby be made of?

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    1. They had an original MX-5 which you might have found interesting ;-)

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    2. Might of been my old one. Used to have a black Mk1 1.8 S.

      I was thinking of setting up an unreliable lawn mowers club. A club for people that have to tinker a bit with their lawn mowers before it works and they can mow the lawn. People that refuse to buy a new flymo. I was going to call it something on the line of "traditional lawn mower preservation". We would sneer at those with new reliable lawn mowers that work every time and say things like, "We accept the lawn mower occasionally is less than 100% but when it does work it's much better than them modern flymos. You in?

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    3. You should come to Southport, CL. It is home to the British Lawnmower Museum.

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    4. Brilliant, that, Nev. On my list. If only I knew about it last year. I'd of offered them my old broken flymo instead of taking it to the tip.

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  2. The menu looks good and not overpriced. However, not so sure how "traditional British" the Asian Vegetable Burger is, featuring as it does Quinoa, edamame, spinach, red pepper, jalapeño, sriracha spices, kimchi ketchup. I don't even know what half of those things are. Cottage pie for me every day, so long as they don't put bloody peas in it.

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    1. At the last Stockport Beer Festival, the caterers (the hall, not CAMRA), served up a lasagne that was 50% beef and 50% carrots, which everyone agreed was completely inappropriate and utterly vile. Somebody must have thought it was a good idea, though!

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  3. I'd rather go to a pub with a determinedly English menu (whether that was a £15 Beef Wellington or £6 Toby Cavery) than endure the me too menus that fail to deliver a good curry/lasagne/mexican.

    Different issue if pub employs the right staff e.g. most Thai in pubs and a few Asian owned places like the Vine in West Brom.

    Less is nearly always more on pub menus, just as with beer.

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    1. Food and drink menus aren't directly comparable, though. The "sensibly short" food menu is something that foodies love to talk about, but doesn't necessarily work in real life. As I said here, there are plenty of people who in practice will only eat limited diets, either for genuine medical or psychological reasons, or simply because they're fussy. This is why "family dining" pubs tend to have very long and comprehensive menus, so that nobody can say "there's nothing for me here."

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