[Sale, Greater Manchester] Perfect Match - return visit

It’s nearly twelve months since we were last here. Nothing has changed. It’s still a busy little place at the start of Sale’s main drag, even on a cold midweek evening. There’s still service that offers a warm welcome with everything happening just as it should. And there’s still a short, very seasonal, menu, offering half a dozen or so choices at each course.

This isn’t an Italian restaurant but there’s always a couple of pasta dishes on the starter menu or, as at present, it’s gnocchi. Those are effectively the same, although one will have a meat based sauce and the other vegetarian. And you can order a bigger portion of either as a main course. It’s a cracking idea. So, that was one with the mushroom ragu (the omnivore version was lamb). It’s more a dressing of the gnocchi, in the Italian way, than a lake of sauce you so often get. There’s a scattering of rocket and it’s finished with a little Parmesan. It works very well. Also working well was a perfectly seasoned cider and onion veloute, topped with Jerusalem artichoke crisps for a bit of contrast with the velvety soup.

We both went down a pie route for main courses. Both were perfectly OK but neither pies to shout from the rooftops about. One was a pithivier, filled with caramelised onion and feta but there was no obvious evidence of the advertised squash. A venison and butternut squash pie was nicely made with puff pastry – a proper pie, fully encasing the filling. The filling was very long cooked Bambi, so long cooked that it was almost a puree. There was a little squash in here but it was hardly making a contribution. But it was all bucked up by being served a little jug of gravy to pour over – it needed it as would have been a bit dry without. Both plates came with parsnip puree and a few springs of tenderstem broccoli.

For dessert, one of us ordered their signature peanut butter pie. It’s always on the menu and rightly so. Well made pastry and a really rich and indulgent filling topped with candied nuts. For the other, three scoops of the offerings from Cheshire Ice Cream Farm – apple sorbet, blackcurrant sorbet and clotted cream ice cream. Front of house are Italian and our guy suggested that he serve this in two bowls as sorbet and ice cream shouldnt be mixed. And he was right.

Joint owner, Andrea, is a sommelier by training. It’s in the genes – his family make Prosecco near Venice. One of the good things about Perfect Match is that he brings his skill to suggest a wine for each dish on the menu – just as you might see with a wine pairing on a tasting menu at a high end restaurant. It’s a good path to travel as you’re going to have things that you wouldn’t have instinctively ordered. For the one of us who drinks alcohol, there was a Prosecco to start. Then a fino sherry with the soup, a South African Chenin Blanc/Grenache blend with the pithivier and a Pedro Ximenez sherry with dessert. They work perfectly with the food.

Nice evening.