Didsburydad's Blog

From the not so mean streets of M20, blog about being a dad, Didsbury and dealing with parental confusion

Archive for the tag “The Art of Tea”

The Rise of the West, Didsbury Park goes BoHo

The death of western civilisation has been greatly exaggerated. Didsbury is the hub for the comeback. The rise of the East and it’s industrial powerhouses (Nandos, Cineworld, huge Metrolink car park) has at times threatened to swamp the middle ground of the village and the brandless, roll your own boho chic that is West Didsbury.
But
As the other axis of evil disintegrated once Hollywood got the catering sorted, so we have a new hero. The promised cafe in Didsbury Park has come good and it’s down to the niche, nice, detail savvy of …and The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon.

Not only does this Burton Road bakery cum cafe buck the one-word name trend so beloved in West Didsbury, but they’ve marched through Didsbury Village pronouncing Quinoa correctly, bringing a smile to Sourdough and leaving Didsbury Deli, Costa, Nero, Art of Tea etc. with poached egg on their faces. They are so nice they make me feel I could wear sandals without irony.

Yesterday morning I sat on a camping chair in a cold awning with a fractious baby girl getting fed up in a travel cot. I slurped tea out of a melamine cup. On Thursday morning I lolled on a comfy rug in the sun of Didsbury Park, flat white in hand, sourdough in mouth and Didsbury Wife enjoying her Earl Grey whilst the babies played with unicorns and butterflies on the safe lawn created by And The Dish…

… And The Dish has taken over the Holt Pavillion until the end of September every Thursday to Saturday. It’s a great idea and an extra incentive for pram pushers to click heels and get their progeny to sleep and for dog walkers to throw the ball more quickly. The promise of a coffee and a treat and some extra quiet time looms lushly.
My only gripe is the 10am opening. On any given morning the park teems with life from before 8am and the earlier you are out , the more you need refreshing.

Is this a shift in power? And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon have more words in the title than The Airy Fairy Cupcake and I foresee a Biggie v Tupac style bake-off around the Metro station.

With Fletcher Moss’s Alpine Cafe a beacon for park life cafe quality, this Didsbury Park adventure promises a race to get the pram to the park and a dwindling Nero card until October.

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This overgrown garden needs a cafe of its own

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The new cafe is used to dealing with a varied clientele and caters to diverse tastes.

Next week: Nido – why?

Didsbury’s Top 13 Coffee Stops for 2013

In a move as contrived as an inclusive multi-faith Nativity play.
In a year when nothing has yet happened  beyond changing nappies, patting babies and coping with Didsbury Son’s increasing technological needs, I present my guide to Didsbury 2013.
When I say a guide, I mean Part 1; places to park your buggy, rest your feet, work quietly and catch up. Coffee, cake, work, wasting time:
 1. Airyfairy Cupcake Boutique. Like the bumblebee that represents Manchester it shouldn’t work, but it does. In the space that housed the Withington Reporter when it was part of the community is a little haven. Quirky, but not Chorlton. Friendly, but not interfering and not cheap, but worth it. The free wi-fi helps and the Lemon Poppy Cake wooed Didsbury Wife into a  relaxed hour between feeds. Still not sure what a cupcake actually is but then I’ve never really understood why clowns were funny or Thomas the Tank Engine didn’t scare children.
We dressed one twin in white, one in black and lost them on the floor. (www.airyfairycupcakes.co.uk)

We dressed one twin in white, one in black and lost them on the floor. (www.airyfairycupcakes.co.uk)

2. Didsbury Deli. A little piece of The Balkans on our doorsteppes. Fearsome looking but genuinely pleasant owner reminds me of years spent running Nightime events and the staff are lovely enough to mask the eye-watering prices. The door allows for a double pram, always a good thing.
3. The Art of Tea. No room for a pram (not in a “No Room for a Crib kind of way) so is a baby-free, free wi-fi haven of uncomfy seating, indifferent service but none the less for this. The granary toast with peanut butter makes the springless sofas acceptable. The rest of the menu and the bookshop that Health & Safety forgot make them positively luxurious.
4. Didsbury Perk. A newbie, with big banquettes and some interesting art (not sure about the painting with a view from Costa Coffee including Usain Bolt and David ” The Werewolf” Weir passing each other outside Zizzi but it’s a personal thing). It is on School Lane only 8 barbers (1 furlong = a bushell = a barber on School Lane) away from AiryFairy and The Metro Stop and it has a musical link to RNCM. It’s also v v friendly and half the price of the corporates (£2.25 for a Panini, winner).
A view from Costa without Usain Bolt and David Weir

A view from Costa without Usain Bolt and David Weir

4. Cafe Rouge. Rouge may be a Whitbread chain but, like La Tasca, if you have lived here for a few years you will have a happy memory or two based here. When I was dating Didsbury Wife we would sneak here pre-work for coffee and a kiss on the red velvet seats. They are great with children and the food is worth a snoop. I walk past it and it stirs lovely pre Didsbury Dad memories. When it opened Rouge seemed an unfeasibly gauche addition to the village.
5. Albert’s Shed. I’m old enough to have had my first drink in The Barleycorn in the 80s and my own Didsbury Dad and Mum lived over the shop when this was a casino in the 60s. The building’s re-incarnation, mid credit crunch as a  Castlefield favourite was a little slice of genius. Good fun on a night out and for Sunday brunch on a bright day.
6. The Alpine Tearoom in Fletcher Moss. On a summer’s day, this is the centre of the Didsbury world. A gateway to Fletcher Moss, a great spot to people-watch and hark back to early times when an ice cream and a walk satisfied a child for the afternoon.
7. Fusion Deli. The coffee is genuinely good but the bonhomie shared by Pete and Tom amid the Olive Tofu, the proximity to Inmans and the chance to watch Blockbusters’ demise first hand make this a great stop.
8. Samsi Junior opposite The Red Lion. I think it’s Withington and its green tea not coffee but another fave yapping point.
9. Folk. A one-off. A bit like big curly hair. Whatever is done to decorate the place and smarten it up it still looks the epitome of 80s Didsbury scruffy boho chic and so it should. You get really good food, really poor service with a smile and a fine bar should your coffee need stiffening.
10. Piccolino’s. Replacing The Nose, even after its post Liz and Lawrence bastardisation was always going to be a tall order. This was a venue prime for the cynics and snobs to slate but against all odds it is a top hangout at any time of day.
11. Mr Marvel’s Cafe. It closed circa 1990 something but was Didsbury Wife’s fave hangout and a little scary in smokiest times.
12. Didsbury Mum’s House. There are some great coffee shops in the village but few, in fact none offer this level of service. I can let myself in and there’s always tea and cake. I am always told that I look fine and I’m a success, highly recommended.
13. The Bench at the end of the tree-lined path opposite the river. There’s no Wi-fi, no coffee, no one can bother you and if the sun is shining and contents of the double buggy are sleeping, it is perfect.
Only inverse snobbery prevents the sublime Caffe Nero and the sofas at Costa getting in. Both have their benefits, charms and free newspapers.
Next week we begin part 1 of a 644 part series on Didsbury’s Barber Shops.

Festival Fever Favours sunkissed Didsbury

It’s Didsbury Arts Festival (DAF) this week. This is a great and evolving event and the organisers do a brilliant job. But there is a schism in Didsbury and festival fever is afoot.

In a Grand Designesque gesture the TSB/Oddbins has re- emerged as Caffe Nero at The Manor Park end of the village. A blue chain to offset the deep red Costa at the railway end. Will the mums of Broad Oak and Didsbury C of E Nero, whilst Beaver Road and St Catherine’s Costa? Is this attack of The Clones (courtesy @wordsandpics) going to see off the Art of Tea, that link to Boho West Didsbury and their obtuse named indies? Time will tell and caffeine will spill in the fight to host the cognoscenti …

Anyway back to the festival. Following The Didsbury Festival, Cav. Fest and West Fest (see the pattern?), DAF and the French Beer Festival are the official end of summer and the M20 festive season. With many in our media friendly village heading to Edinburgh at some point in August we now redress the balance.

The Cheese Hamlet has added 10p to the price of Longley Farm Virtually Fat Free Cottage Cheese in line with the festival savvy West Didsbury Delis. Big Issue sellers are combining origami with flyering; the cider possee outside the co-op have added mime to their routine and the bench outside the library has been renamed Arthur’s Seat.

My only disappointment is that Evans Fishmongers has no recreation of The Little Mermaid in festival themed Bream displays, The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon has no DAF-themed cupcake and The Metropolitan is not hosting Late n Live.

That’s why I love Didsbury. Tonight I have the choice of the Poet Laureate at Church or The Champions League at home and Didsbury Son is out playing tig amidst the Boden, Havaianas and Sea Salt of Cornwall.

Time for a festival drink on the doorstep

A picture of my installation suggestion: seabirds and house brick near Aldi

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