By Jo Cooksey
I love West Didsbury near Manchester. It’s very picturesque and ‘villagey’. It’s handy for the tram into the city and has more than its fair share of small, independent eateries. I would move there in a shot but I don’t have a spare £350k for a two up, two down terraced house. Eek! That’s a quarter of a million more than I’d have to pay where I live now. So, until I have that lottery win, I shall have to be content to be a visitor.
Our most recent foray into this leafy suburb was to visit Proove, the authentic Napoli pizza and street food restaurant. The second of three Proove eateries, the other two being in Sheffield, this one has been open just over a year. The interior is light and modern and in the open kitchen is a huge, wood fired pizza oven. I would so love one of those in my back garden.
The Proove team source the finest ingredients and wines directly from Naples and the surrounding area, in order to offer their customers an authentic taste experience. You may think that this attention to detail would come at a hefty cost but you would be wrong. Proove keep their prices low in order to be manageable to most peoples’ pockets and keep them coming back. Their pizzas start at just £6.50 for a 12” Marinara.
Proove also have separate lunch, brunch and dolce menus. They do a lunch special of a small pizza, salad and a soft drink, tea or coffee for £8.50 which is great value. For an extra £1 you can have a glass of house wine or half a pint of draft beer.
We decided to share a Fritto Misto, which comprised of a mixed platter of Angioletti, Crocchè and Arancini. If you haven’t come across them before, Angioletti, meaning ‘Angels’, are strips of dough that are delicately deep fried. These were a revelation. Piping hot, chewy on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside and not a speck of grease in site. In fact, all the parts to this dish were devoid of excess oil, which made my sensitive tummy very happy. The Crocchè, or croquets as we know them, were made of bread crumbed mashed potato and egg. So simple but so delicious. The last part was the Arancini. I absolutely adore these golden, crispy spheres of deliciousness. They are usually filled with risotto and some other ingredient like mozzarella or ragu. Proove change the Arancini fillings daily and the day we went they were beautifully cheesy, garlicky and herby. I could have eaten a whole plate of these to myself.
Next up were the pizzas. They are hand made using the best Italian Caputo flour, slow proved for a minimum of 20 hours, hand stretched and cooked the Neapolitan way (fast!) to ensure the perfect base. Proove pizzas are topped with the finest, authentic Italian ingredients including San Marzano D.O.P. tomatoes and Fior di Latte mozzarella. Our photographer ordered the Fungi pizza, topped with roasted Portobello mushrooms, drizzled with truffle infused olive oil and dotted with mozzarella. Those mushrooms really packed a wonderfully funghi-fied punch. I plumped for the Bel Paese pizza, a cheesy showstopper including ricotta, mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano, cherry tomatoes and dressed with homemade basil oil. For an extra £1.80 you can add prosciutto, which I did, and it melted in the mouth. Absolutely delicious.
Pudding time! For once I eschewed the Tiramisu, graciously allowing my daughter to have it. Unheard of I know, but I wanted to try a different dessert for once. The Zeppole on the Specials menu had caught my eye. This was three choux pastries filled with lemon crème patisserie and topped with a black cherry. To be honest, I thought I would love it and I didn’t. Nothing wrong with the way it was made, it just didn’t float my boat and I found it a bit sickly. The Tiramisu however, was delicious and even though I tried to persuade my daughter to swop with me but she held on to it very tightly. Spoilsport.
All in all, we really enjoyed our visit to Proove. The food, service and atmosphere were great. Just what you would want from a little local pizzeria. As they say, ‘Simply great, honest, affordable food every time.’ Although I am still hoping for a lottery win, so I can just stroll round the corner to visit.
We were guests of Proove but as always, the review and opinions are our own and unbiased.