[West Didsbury, Manchester] Rose Garden

Rose Garden gets the basics right when it comes to menu construction. It’s short, seasonal and interesting. And most of the items featured on the carte also appear on their bargain set menu - £18 gets you two courses, another three quid gets you the third. So we went with the bargain. It’s decent enough value for money for the price but there are gaps in the cooking that you’d be a bit miffed over if you were paying full whack on the carte. Actually, there are gaps that leave you a bit miffed even on a bargain deal. But they’re not big gaps.

There was a Jerusalem artichoke risotto to start. Nicely al dente artichoke – definitely al dente not undercooked. Good rice and a couple of decorative artichoke crisps. It’s a tad underseasoned and a tad too claggy. Squash & gorgonzola ravioli were nice enough, although needing more cheese to balance the sweetness of the squash. It was advertised as coming with a squash velouté, which was actually nothing of the sort. This was a squash puree and was not an improvement on having a velouté. Like the risotto, it really needed some wetness.

Rabbit pudding sounded a great idea and it looked good on the plate. A little steamed suet pudding packed with bunny, a couple of thinnish slices of a rabbit ballotine wrapped in Palma ham and there’s gnocchi and peas. There was also an advertised Dijon sauce but sauce was non-existent and it really cried out for one. Other than this continuing issue with the food being too dry, it all tasted pretty good. The other plate was one of two vegetarian dishes out of the five mains on offer. A beetroot and feta tart looked lovely and tasted good. There’s thick polenta, caramelized onions and a little potato galette that was more decorative than major carb contribution.

We passed on dessert – nothing really appealed. Instead of the ubiquitous Speculoos biscuit, the excellent coffee comes with a perfect miniature Jammy Dodger.

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