[Didsbury, Manchester] No. 4

(John Hartley) #1

It’s good to see Paul and Nina’s efforts at last given wider recognition with the restaurant’s inclusion in the new edition of the Good Food Guide. We get here a couple of times a year, usually for dinner, but this was lunch.

Soup of the day was an excellent white onion and thyme, the flavours of both coming through on an excellent base stock. The accompanying bread was tasty. The other starter, effectively mushrooms on toast, was bang-on for an autumn dish. Thick slice of toasted brioche, topped with mushrooms in a creamy mascarpone sauce, enhanced with Gran Moravia cheese (no, me neither – I had to Google to find it’s Italian).

For mains, one of us went with what was a pretty much perfect lunch dish – steak , egg and chips. A thinnish minute steak, lightly cooked; two fried eggs with properly soft yolks, perfect for dunking the nicely fried chips. And there was an absolute belter of a béarnaise sauce. Too often, this can be bland but not here – you really get the twang from tarragon but it’s not overdone – I was almost embarrassed to ask if it was house made. It is - and Paul could start giving lessons to a couple well known city centre steak places in how to make a good ‘un. For the other, a shortcrust pastry tart included butternut squash, pecans and Yorkshire Blue cheese, with all the elements complementing each other. Also on the plate, good accompaniments in the form of broccoli and mini hash browns. We shared a side order of cauliflower cheese that was just so comforting on a manky October day (but I wouldn’t have objected if a more poky cheese had been used)

Only one of us wanted dessert. Which meant one of us lost out on a sticky toffee pudding that had a light as a feather sponge and a great butterscotch sauce. On the side, a retro brandysnap basket held a blob of vanilla icecream. Meanwhile, the other was sipping a lovely coffee and nibbling on a homemade truffle.

An absolute cracker of a lunch.