Like most cities, Manchester is a load of villages huddled together, shoulder to shoulder. All bleeding into one another, it is often tough to work out which street one becomes the next – we were sold out house as a borderline between Didsbury and Withington, but now we’re here I know it’s deep in Withington and no mistake! And I wouldn’t change it for anything.
Anyway, the Woodstock Arms is pure Didsbury. Young professionals are its clientele, and it benefits from butting up against the lengthy Palatine Road, on any given Sunday packed with wealthy young things. Don’t let this put you off, mind. Kid-friendly, dog-friendly (they absolutely loved our pooch, see below) and just a really all-round friendly place.
Inside is decked out with teal walls and traditional furnishings, just made for chilly autumn evenings when the wind is whipping up along Barlow Moor Road.
But the summer is when this traditional boozer really comes into its own, matching the blue Manchester skies with an outdoor eating area that’s so spacious and pretty – and the best bit, served by its own bar. They made a video that shows just how cool the space is…
As you might expect from a gastropub, there is a healthy array of British bar faves on show: rump of lamb, ham egg and chips, fish and chips… and that’s just the main menu.
There’s a daytime sandwich menu, with club, reuben and an aubergine, avocado and mozzarella toastie which is making me drool just typing it. Then there’s the Sunday roast menu, which does a roaring trade with the Didsbury set.
But I look past all of this – because the final option is my very heaven.
The pizza menu is small but, for a mega fan like me, pretty much perfectly formed.
Not for this chef the charred, overcooked stone baking you sometimes see, but still a crisp, crunchy bite giving way to soft dough inside.
There’s a particular place that pizza takes you that’s part-nostalgia – for when I was Sophia Loren in the 1960s, perhaps? Not with this tum – and part-animal hunger, where all I can see is PIZZA and Crums do not share.
Tell me straight, though – who amongst us wouldn’t devour this? Carne Speziato, with Calabrian meats, spicy n’duja sausage and mozzarella… OK, so you’re veggie? They have a Greco, with spinach, feta, red onion, olives…
Oh, sorry, vegan? Try the Gardiniera – roasted veg, tomato sauce, vegan white sauce and basil.
We went straight for the meaty goodness, accompanied with a watercress, spinach and Gran Moravia salad. Note well, you wouldn’t need to be relying on the somewhat petite salad – although tasty – to fill you up.
Delicious and good value, I could have easily taken on a whole other pizza all on my Withingtonian own – but something told me, in Didsbury, that’s just not the done thing.
Woodstock Arms, 139 Barlow Moor Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M20 2DY