Possibly one of Manchester’s most picturesque suburbs, leafy West Didsbury is an ever-cool, community-focused kind of place with a clutch of independent business at its heart.
Along Burton Road – a bustling, tree-lined street – are the many bars, cafés, shops and restaurants that have made this part of town so popular, with both residents and visitors. And it’s fair to say that if you’re looking for somewhere to eat in West Didsbury, if you can’t find anything that whets the appetite along here, well…
Our need for pizza was strong on that late summer’s evening. Not just your average, bog standard pizza but one like, well yes actually, like my nonna used to make. Coming from a Sicilian family, pizza was my daily bread while growing up and my quest for the real deal is always an active one. Step up Proove on Burton Road.
Sleek, stylish and with an open frontage with low hanging copper lights, it’s easy to see why this place is always busy. Tip: book ahead if there’s a few of you. But why is it so popular? Quite simply, they make fantastic pizza dough using the very best quality ingredients. And they make it the way they do in Napoli – even a Sicilian has to admit that’s the best way.
The menu is extensive and gluten-free and vegetarians are very well catered for. We kicked off with the gorgeous Le Verdure, a sharing antipasti plate laden with sun-dried and grilled vegetables with a couple of Italian cheeses. This came with toasted crostini and sweet chutney. We also ordered the Tronchetto which is pizza dough topped with salami, rolled and then baked in the wood-fired ovens which, incidentally, are a centrepiece of the place and means you can watch, open-mouthed, as the Italian chefs battle the hellish heat as they bake your pizza.
Beware the Tronchetto for a starter. If, like my 17-year-old son, you have the appetite of a Shire horse then it’s all good. If not, it’s quite filling.
Looking through the menu here, you notice ingredients like San Marzano tomatoes, Fort de Latte mozzarella and fresh basil to be a common thread running through the dishes. Added to the hand-stretched, extensively proved pizza dough – these pizzas are delizioso.
I loved the Neptuna which is a pizza without the cheese. But being awkward I wanted cheese as well as the tomatoes, anchovies, capers, oregano and olives. Not a problem for the lovely Proove staff and it arrived, straight out of the mad-hot oven and overlapping my plate. A plain, but by no means ordinary, Margherita arrived along with a spicy Americana (salami and roasted red peppers) and a rocket salad simply dressed with extra virgin olive oil. We were very, very happy.
The mistake often made with pizza is that people tend to think the more toppings laden on the base, the better the pizza. But traditionally pizza is a street food. Forget the meddling the Americans have done to Italy’s finest – chucking all manner of peculiar ingredients on the top – pixxa should be simple and tasty.
And Proove has got it right. It’s all about the ingredients. Less is more. The pizza is just on the right side of chewy allowing the dense flavours to hit the spot.
Proove is a relative newcomer to the Burton Road posse of places to eat and drink but one that’s certainly elbowing in on the more established places, and all for under £60 for three of us.
They also do a book online service with Deliveroo. Already on my speed dial.
Proove, 160 Burton Road, West Didsbury; 0161 669 9061