Never mind - take the chance to go when you can, even if this necessitates some kind of fraudulent time off work. The pub itself doesn't look anything special - a traditional boozer situated on the main Didsbury drag and populated largely by people over the age of 90. However, the real draw here is the legendary Cheese and Pate Lunch, served from 12pm - 2.15pm every weekday and costing a mere £5. For this you get half a loaf of soft, fresh granary bread and two choices from the vast selection of cheeses and pates spread out along the bar for your delectation.
There are several potential pitfalls here. The portion control is non-existent, and if you have a pleasant chat with the lovely lady, or eye up a cheese that is either rather unpopular or has around a portion and a half left, she is apt to pile even more onto your towering plate. You will now understand why the cutlery table by the bar also carries empty bags - these are doggy bags, to allow you to avoid heart failure by taking some home with you. The smart luncher opts for one pate and one cheese; bear in mind that cheese travels far better than pate. Above all, beware how easy it is to shove it in your handbag and forget all about it, only to discover a bag full of dolcelatte lurking in your Prada at an unexpected moment.
- The Royal Oak is at 729 Wilmslow Rd, Didsbury, tel 0161 4344788