[West Didsbury, Manchester] Lime Tree

The Lime Tree offers always reliable Modern British food and tonight was no exception. The only quibble was about service which, though willing, seemed to have some longish gaps between things happening. Oh, and chummy constantly referring to my partner as “darling”. It really isn’t the sort of place where that feels right. Is there anywhere, apart from the greasy spoon caff, where that feels right?

There was smoked salmon for one starter, along with a smoked salmon mousse, a dollop of horseradish cream and a little salad, mainly pea shoots. The advertised bread didn’t arrive until halfway through. Nor did the glass of wine. Crispy pork belly was good. When is crispy pork belly going to be otherwise than good? Here it was teamed with an east Asian style salad – bean shoots and the like, with a citrus dressing and some very poky thin slices of red chilli. The meat comes from their own farm in Cheshire.

There was cod for one main course. No crispy skin unfortunately. But there was slightly wilted quarters of Little Gem and a scattering of capers. This was good and just needed the side order of fries to be spot on. I recall Jay Rayner once wrote that restaurants put steak on the menu so that people who don’t know what they want to eat can find something to eat. I reckon he’s right and I can, almost invariably, find something I prefer. But not tonight. So, rump steak (presumably also from the family farm) cooked accurately to medium rare comes with grilled mushroom. I misread the mushroom in the plural and would otherwise have ordered a side – maybe the cauliflower cheese. Also comes with a Café de Paris butter and choice of fries or fat chips. That’ll be the chips then.

Only one of us wanted dessert. That’d be me. It’s a mango parfait accompanied by what was described as a mango salsa but was what you and I would describe as a few bits of chopped mango. There’s a dab or two of an indeterminate but pleasantly sharp sauce which worked well with the sweet parfait.

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

― Jonathan Gold