[Didsbury, Manchester] No. 4

Between the two of us, we must have eaten here seven or eight times over the last few years. It’s somewhere we come back to because we know we’re going to get a reliably nice dinner. There’s a well priced menu of food you want to eat, without unnecessary cheffy bells and whistles and pleasant, friendly service.

There’s a leek and potato soup to start, just the thing for a chilly autumn night – or Manchester in August. And the accompanying bread is homemade. Across the table, a mini mezze of Middle Eastern offerings – houmous (needed more tahini and lemon), a much better baba ghanoush, falafel, a very fresh tzatziki, tabbouleh and pitta. Both starters were overly restrained in the seasoning.

For mains, duck breast was perfectly pink and came with croquettes made from the leg. There’s a decent cube of dauphinoise potato and a scattering of peas and mushrooms. The sauce is good, with just a hint of sweetness from cherry, giving an almost classic edge to the dish. There was nothing classic about the other dish and, reading the menu, it sounded a bit of an odd combination. There’s a well seasoned roast fillet of cod (although without crispy skin). But the odd bit was that it sat on spaghetti and came with pesto, pancetta and asparagus. But it did work and tasted fine.

We didn’t have dessert but coffee was good.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold