Having a dog has made me realise some of the beautiful places there are around the North West to explore. I have lived in Stockport most of my life, apart from a brief stint in Wigan and the City Centre, and have discovered so many pretty parks and woodland areas to go for a few hours and blow off the cobwebs of a long day in work. A new favourite is Brabyns Park in Marple Bridge. There are large field areas and, every time we have visited, it has been really quiet. Marple Bridge, in general, is a really dog friendly village with the majority of the pubs welcoming pups with open arms. A favourite of ours is The Midland, who recently invited us in to see their new refurb and to try their new menu.
Dogs are welcome in the bar area, which has had a makeover to make it much brighter and more ‘country pub’ style than before. There is an open fire, perfect for drying off after a wet walk and a beautiful view of the River Goyt, to give you a totally relaxing ambience. The staff are excellent and ready with water bowls and biscuits for your pooch, whilst you look over the menu and attempt to decide what to eat.
At lunchtime, a selection of the dishes are available on a fixed price basis, with 2 courses for £12.50 or 3 for £15.50. I have taken advantage of this on many occasions and there are some excellent choices. This isn’t available on a Saturday so we decided to try some of the new dishes, and some of the old ones too. I started with the Lobster And King Prawn Pot which, is a more upmarket version of a prawn cocktail. Large chunks of lobster and juicy prawns are smothered in a rich marie rose sauce served with crispy toasts that are really well seasoned. On its own, I would say the lobster and prawn pot needs more seasoning, but the toasts amp up the pepper to pair perfectly. My friend chose the Salt And Szechuan Squid, which was served with the most garlicky aioli I have tried in the UK. It was delicious and the squid was soft yet tender. I felt there could have been more seasoning, as I would normally expect Szechuan to be quite spicy. This didn’t really have that and was more like a really good battered squid.
I tried something a little lighter for my main with the Spit Roasted Chicken. You can either order it with fries and jus or a salad, so I went for the latter. Let me tell you though, this is no ordinary salad. Kale and cauliflower cous cous is dressed with a pineapple, ginger and lemongrass dressing for a fresh and zesty side that feels so much more substantial than a pile of leaves. It is a beautiful dish and one I will definitely order next time we visit.
My friend went for the same thing he always has at The Midland, the Carne Pizza with no chilli. Now he is a fan of spice but they really do lace this pizza with chilli and it is just a little too much for him. The pizza base is thin and crispy without being overly so, there are no soggy bottoms and the toppings are perfectly distributed. I know this sounds like a really odd description but the amount of times I have had pizzas that just don’t cut it, I would quite like to forget. The selection of meats wouldn’t be out of place on a mezze board with chorizo, pepperoni, nduja and shredded chicken. I admit I stole more than one piece.
We were too full for dessert really but, as I always say, it isn’t a real review without cake! I chose the Bramley Apple And Blackberry Shortbread Crumble. The apples are tart, the shortbread topping sweet yet slightly crunchy, and the creamy custard just tops it all off. My friend tried the Warm Belgian Chocolate Brownie which, is a huge portion! It is quite heavy and not as chewy as I would have liked but the bourbon vanilla ice cream is a perfect accompaniment. I’d happily eat a full bowl full and not feel like I had missed out.
Despite living in Stockport, Marple isn’t the easiest to get to on public transport, especially in the snow! I had to drive but I can’t wait to try their Bottomless Bubbles when I visit next time, I can’t think of a better reward for racking up the steps around the park. And some cocktails, well it would be rude not to.
I was invited to dine as a guest of The Midland and was not asked to pay.