[Didsbury, Manchester] Hispi

We last ate at Hispi just a few days after it opened. It’s now bedded in but it still leaves you feeling a little bit disappointed that it could easily be so much better.

A chilled tomato broth was, in reality, a light vaguely tomatoey water. Pleasant enough with a drizzle of basil oil and a few chunks of tomato but pretty much devoid of interest, except for the homemade crumpet which accompanied it. That was followed by steamed plaice with a dill butter sauce, a tiny bit of spinach and sautéed new potatoes (slightly undercooked). Another plate of food which led my partner to accept that she’d made poor choices and this was a meal you might serve to someone recovering from an illness.

Altogether more butch, was toasted brioche topped with chargrilled duck hearts. Great idea and also pleasant enough but it was underseasoned. I was looking forward to kimchi spiced pork chop but I couldn’t detect any kimchi flavouring when it came. Maybe it was intended to be very subtle. And it was a decent bit of middle white pork – tasty and properly cooked to medium. On the side, a little salad of little gem quarters and slices of pickled tomatoes.

Custard tart had started life well – crisp pastry and flavourful custard. But it was served warm and that seemed so wrong. Probably the best plate of the six we ate was the other dessert. Four mini doughnuts sat on a sharp lemon cream. Excellent in themselves, the addition of a fennel granita and sugared almonds was really clever, giving changes in both texture and flavour.

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