[Didsbury, Manchester] No. 4 - a return to an old favourite

No. 4 never lets you down. In all the years we’ve been coming, we’ve never had a bad meal. There’s always a menu where you’re spoilt for choice. And everything is always cooked just as nicely as you hope. Service is never other than on the ball. Yes, I’m something of a fan of No. 4. And it was good to be back after months of lockdown.

English asparagus was bang-on for seasonality. Cooked so there was still a little bite to the spears and served with a tangy herb and lemon mayo and a crispy hens egg. The egg is clever. It’s cooked so the white forms round a still runny yolk. It’s then breadcrumbed and fried so you’ve got a crisp coating and a yolk still perfect for dunking the asparagus in. The other starter was also very summery. Crab mixed with a herb mayo and served alongside a salad of new potatoes, avocado and cucumber. A Bloody Mary dressing set it off, the Tabasco making it all quite perky.

More seafood followed the crab in the form of a perfectly cooked wodge of cod. There’s asparagus and samphire alongside and some cubes of fried potato. A lemon butter sauce works really well. Calves liver often appears on the menu here and it’s a dish I find hard to resist. It’s lightly cooked to “pink” and comes with a couple of rashers of smoked bacon, mashed potato and spinach. And you don’t miss out on the traditional liver and onions – the onion element coming in the form of crispy onion rings. There’s a well made red wine sauce to bring it all together.

Only one of us wanted dessert. That’ll be the “plate of chocolate” please. It’s a new thing they’re trying out and, unsurprisingly, Nina said it’s very popular. Three mini-desserts – a little pot of chocolate ganache, chocolate brownie with chocolate sauce and a mint chocolate chip ice cream with chocolate “soil”. Really good – a rich ending to a really nice meal.


Nice one. I’m not having enough seafood so that’s made me hungry. And I’ll +1 for the plate of chocolate things. My kind of dessert, thankyouverymuch.

One deffo to try next tme you find your way to the Rainy City. 15 minute tram ride from the city centre and it’s literally round the corner from the Didsbury stop.

The menu moves with the seasons so there’s a good “end of the year” feel to things. So different from when we were last here in June.

Some dishes are not necessarily seasonal – like a well made cheese soufflé, surrounded by a cheese sauce. Or like tiger prawns on sourdough toast – lots of chilli here and poky garlic butter.

But there’s an early take on Christmas dinner. A ballantine of turkey encased sage and onion stuffing and was itself wrapped in streaky bacon. There’s confit potato, broccoli, cranberry compote (perhaps a tad overly sharp) and gravy. My companion enjoyed this, saying that usually the only time she gets to eat turkey is when she’s cooked it herself. The other main was roasted cod fillet - unfortunately, no crispy skin but otherwise perfect. There was a potato cake, some wilted greens and a mushroom sauce.

We often pass on desserts but they are always pretty good here (and always homemade). So, that’ll be rice pudding with “boozy brandied plums” that was bang on for seasonality. Just lovely and warming. And a classic Crepes Suzette, which pops up on the menu periodically and is always worth ordering.

Good espresso to finish with a couple of chocolate truffles (again house made)

It was a nice evening, as always. And good to see them reasonably busy, although Nina was rightly peeved about a couple of “no shows”.

Oh, and the very minimalist Christmas decorations were fun - just a tiny plastic tree on each table.