[West Didsbury, Manchester] Lime Tree

There’s places we go and enjoy exotic ingredients and cheffy techniques. There’s other places where we go and enjoy straightforward plates of food. The Lime Tree is the latter. That’s not to imply that the kitchen is not skilled. It is. It’s just a different cuisine – no less and no more than the bells & whistles places. You’re always guaranteed a menu where you’re spoilt for choice that’s packed with seasonal and local ingredients. And they’ve done the place up since we were here last year, taking out a few tables so they can put a small bar in. Thankfully, they’ve not tried to cram too many tables into the reduced space so there’s no sense of being crowded together.

So, to start, there was a perfectly seared pigeon breast. It sits on wilted spinach and there’s a couple of chunks of a very decent Bury black pudding. An apple puree and a splash or two of port jus moistens everything up. It’s the sort of dish that I really expect to see in autumn but it still works well in spring. There was a slightly unusual preparation with some perfectly cooked scallops. They were on top of some salad leaves and there’s a dollop of crème fraiche, which didn’t work too convincingly and some sweet chilli sauce, which did.

One main course as was straightforward as they come – sirloin steak, grilled portobello mushroom, peppercorn sauce & fries. It’s all cooked as you’d hope. Nuff said.

The other featured venison – from the herd of red deer that roam in Macclesfield Forest. Bambi comes two ways – both delicious – long cooked shoulder falling apart at the touch of the fork and slices of medium rare loin. There’s mushrooms and shredded cabbage. And mashed potato in which I think I detected a hint of garlic. And a light sauce.

Four plates of food you really want to eat.


good review, john. when i come to manchester i’ve wandered no further than bits of salford. i suppose i’m missing out on some great opportunities elsewhere. i know this isn’t good because i’d scoff at tourists coming to london and not leaving W1. most of the good stuff is outside of centre. perhaps one day i’ll have to come for a week and get a bit more adventurous. just need a companion to do it with. anyway, back to strict topic - sounds impressive. so definitely recommended?

Venturing into Salford, you might like Vero Moderno which is “modern Italian” for want of a better description.

You could get the tram to Altrincham for Sugo Pasta Kitchen which, unsurprisingly, only has about 5 main course items, all pasta (or go for the food hall at the old market hall - quite an exciting concept - although not quite what an old git like me is after). They are due to open a second outlet in Ancoats (just on the edge of the Northern Quarter) in the early summer.

You’d need to reserve both - justifiably very popular