[Didsbury, Manchester] No. 4 - 2022 visit

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.


Cheese souffle, braised beef, chips, coleslaw, and cauliflower cheese!
Heavenly! :heart:

1 Like

We’ve been back. Some things are too good to only have once a year.

We like going to restaurants that are at the cutting edge of modern cooking. They’re interesting and exciting places. But, on most occasions when we go out to eat, we want somewhere that’s just going to feed us well and give us a nice evening. Which is why we keep coming back to No. 4. It’s a bit of a cliché but the menu is always stacked with food you really want to eat.

My partner has ordered the twice baked cheese soufflé before. It’s a belter and, to repeat the cliché, it’s something you really want to eat. Light and tasty, surrounded by cheese sauce that was packed with mature cheddar flavour. There’s a little bit of mustard in there to perk it up further. A scotch egg uses smoked haddock instead of the traditional sausagemeat to make a lighter dish. It’s wrapped round an egg that still has a just moist yolk and there’s a crisp crumb on the outside. Mayo, spiked with curry paste, completes the dish which is clearly a take on most of the elements of kedgeree. It works.

Braised beef is pretty much always on the menu. And rightly so. It morphs through the seasons so that, for instance, in the summer it comes with a BBQ sauce but, now, it’s a classic red wine sauce. It’s a generous serving of delicious meat. The sauce, dotted with mushrooms and tiny pearl onions, is rich and unctuous. There’s well made “fat chips”, crisp on the outside, fluffy inside. And, served separately, a little dish of cauliflower cheese. Just the sort of food you want to eat on a chilly night in early winter. Cod, spuds and veg across the table. There’s more of that generosity with a large fillet of the fish, cooked perfectly so that it just flakes apart. Creamed leeks provide not just a contribution to your five-a-day but act almost as a sauce. A crisp rosti gives you texture and there’s a spoonful of spinach for colour.

We both went with the same very homey dessert. A really well made rice pudding, served warm – probably as good as your mother used to make. It’s their festive version, so there’s warming spices like nutmeg (?) there in the background. And there’s spiced plums to just round off the dish – Mum missed a trick not doing that with hers.


That all sounds so good - jealous!