[West Didsbury, Manchester] Lime Tree - 2023

There’s nothing to say about the Lime Tree that hasn’t been said before many times by many people. As ever, there’s a nice welcome and, as ever, the good service continues through the evening. There’s the seasonally changing menu and, almost as ever, there’s nothing that I wouldn’t consider ordering (even the vegan items – and you won’t often see me say that)).

For starters, there were half a dozen queen scallops, served on the half shell, drizzled with garlic and herb butter and topped with a bacon and gremolata crumb. Light and as fresh as you like. On the other plate was a take on Bang Bang Chicken. Small spiced chunks of thigh meat, with a warm salad of noodles and peppers, with a quite pokey peanut sauce for dunking. The generosity of both dishes indicated you were not going to go away hungry.

The scallops were followed by a roasted fillet of hake. Perfectly cooked, of course. Alongside there’s a small crispy fishcake, spinach and the tang from a warm tartare sauce. Whilst I said earlier that I’d have been happy to order anything on the menu, I was immediately drawn to the evening’s special. Now, a lamb dish is almost a given in this style of restaurant. And, from time to time, you’ll see mutton. But the intermediate hogget is a rarity. And, at 14 months old, this one came from the family farm in Cheshire. Genuinely “farm to fork” as the Americans say. It was pretty much a Sunday roast dinner, served on a Wednesday evening. And that’s intended as praise. Three generous slices of leg and some long cooked breast took care of the protein. The meat sat on mixed vegetables – peas, green beans, shredded cabbage – and there’s a smear of pea puree. What must be almost the last of the Jersey Royals had been crushed and reformed in one of those metal chef’s rings, so looked pretty… A little red wine jus set it all off (and it would happily stood having a bit more).

Good dinner that left us too full for dessert so we waddled away to catch the tram home