Restaurants come and go but No. 4 has been a fixture since it opened in 2005. Located down a cobbled street, just off Didsbury’s main drag, it’s a small place - half a dozen or so tables on the ground floor and similar upstairs. As with many successful small restaurants, it’s a family affair. Paul cooks and Nina runs front of house. Both do their thing really well and we’ve never had less than a thoroughly enjoyable evening over many visits. The menu changes seasonally four times a year, although some dishes are pretty much constant, although tweaked to reflect the seasonality. I always find lots of choice at every course.
Confit duck had been crisped in a Chinese sauce, maybe hoisin, so it was nicely chewy. It’s served with peppery watercress, crunchy beansprouts , thin slices of ripe peach and a soy & sesame oil dressing . It was delish. Keeping to the Asian fusion theme, there was cod to follow. Perfectly cooked, it was topped with a drizzle of a teriyaki glaze. Thin shavings of fennel had been marinated in a tangy pickle and there was some broccoli. A spoonful of citrus mayo worked as a sauce but it would have been even better if there had been more of the teriyaki. Rice provided an appropriate carb. Cheese finished off the meal. You can choose a selection of three or have all six on offer. So, that’ll be the three. There’s Cornish Yarg, Sheep Rustler – unsurprisingly a ewe’s milk cheese from Somerset. Matured for three months it stays quite mild. And Yorkshire Blue, creamy with a tang from the blueing. They come with crackers, grapes, celery and apple.
On the other side of the table, there’s a twice baked soufflé using Coastal Cheddar from Dorset. It’s mature cheese, aged up to 15 months and, according to the producer’s website, has found more favour in America than fighting it’s way through the heavy UK farmhouse Cheddar market. It’s a good soufflé. That was followed by one of the menu stalwarts – beef featherblade. It’s summer, so the slant is to the season and it comes braised in a slightly sweet BBQ sauce. Keeping to the theme, there’s fat chips, coleslaw and cauliflower cheese (ok, not seasonal, but when was cauliflower cheese ever unwelcome). It’s a generous portion and it all works, leaving my companion in life struggling with the idea of dessert but was soon sorted out with a single scoop of raspberry sorbet.
We finished with good expresso and very good housemade chocolate truffles.