Posted 17 August 2010 - 11:18 AM
Azzurro (Italian, West Didsbury)
Earle (Brit/Veggie, Hale)
Fat Loaf (Brit, Didsbury)
Great Kathmandu (Nepalese, West Didsbury)
Greens (Veggie, West Didsbury)
Grenache (Brit, Worsley - yeah,I know it's not "south")
Isinglass (Brit, Urmston - and that;s not "south" either)
Jem & I (Brit, Didsbury)
Kosmos (Cypriot, Fallowfield)
Lime Tree (Brit, West Didsbury)
Persia Grill (Middle eastern, Chorlton)
Rhubarb (Brit, West Didsbury)
Seven Spices (Indian, Cheadle Hulme)
Shiraz (Middle Eastern, Northenden)
Posted 17 August 2010 - 12:10 PM
It won three AA rosettes this year putting it on par with a number of Michelin starred places.
We had an excellent meal there earlier this year and am a bit annoyed with myself for not doing a review. Its only a dozen miles from Manchester in a southerly direction so it qualifies.
Chris Holland is a very good chef.
I may try to dig out my notes and do a review
Posted 30 August 2010 - 01:39 PM
I’m not really sure why I thought it a good idea to start here on my quest to find South Manchester’s finest. Apart, that is, from it’s very near to home; it’s newish and I’d been for a coffee during the day and liked the look of it.
It is, indeed, a nice caff during the day – a welcome addition to the High Street offering light lunches, snacks and pastries. At night it becomes a full-on restaurant claiming to serve Turkish and Mediterranean food. Yep, that mix should have warned me, but it didn’t. So, when we read the menu there were a number of clearly Turkish dishes but, also, pastas and other more vaguely Italian items together with some that had no particular geographical allegiance. Not the best of signs of good focussed cuisine.
I started with a recognisable Turkish mezze item of yoghurt, garlic and spinach. I wrote down that it was called “ispankli tarratore”. When I got home, I Googled that without success. “Ispanak” appears to be Turkish for spinach but not “ispankli”. A similar zilch on “tarratore” although “tarator” seems to be a Turkish dip with walnuts. Which this wasn’t. So, perhaps the restaurant owner is as confused as I am. Tasted OK, though.
Tavuk iskender sees a piece of bread laid on the plate, topped with chicken kebab (overcooked in this case), and then covered with a yoghurt and tomato sauce. Came with decent rice and salad. The chicken aside, this was OK if not thrilling.
Meanwhile, Mrs H had passed on the Turkish side of things and started with a scallop kebab. Three scallops, properly cooked, sat on a small mound of risotto (or, as it was, a small mound of rice pudding like stuff).
She stuck with the kebab theme going for a pretty generic lamb one – again cooked well past medium. Came with the same rice and salad that was on my plate. Nothing that you havnt had from your local kebab shop.
Not really recommended unless you’re desperate to eat in Cheadle (when the Bay Tree and Pizza Express are likely to serve you better). Hope things improve over the coming weeks.
Posted 01 September 2010 - 09:48 AM
Its on odd one as 2 of the places I would have recommended from my time in South Manchester have gone - and I would have recommended them well above some of those listed here (Palmiro and Marmalade) - how time marches on.
I will always have a soft spot for 2 others Turkish Delight and Azad Manzil at which I have had good meals (but usually well oiled at the time)
Edited by codheadred, 01 September 2010 - 09:50 AM.
Posted 13 October 2010 - 02:08 PM
One of a number of decentish neighbourhood eateries within a couple of hundred yards of each other on Burton Road. It’s small – under 30 covers, but you don’t feel packed in. What I like is that, unlike many other Italian places at this end of the market, it has a short menu. Around six offerings at each of the four available courses – antipasti, pasta, main and dessert. Means they can concentrate on doing what they do quite well. Fish is always a “special” here and tonight there were a couple of starters and couple of mains. But what attracted us was the midweek special menu, which takes a number of main menu items, adds in a couple more specials, and charges you £15.95 for two courses, including a bottle of wine between two of you. And not cheap crap, either – turned out to be a pretty decent Cotes du Rhone.
We both started with bruschetta. Good bread, nicely toasted. One topped with a cannellini bean mix, the other with very flavoursome tomatoes. A nice and simple, if not stunning, start.
Mains were cannelloni and a tagliatelle with wild boar stew. Both were decent enough examples, and hearty portions. Seemingly good ingredients, well cooked although both needed some more seasoning.
All in all, a good midweek dinner.
Posted 03 November 2010 - 07:55 AM
I make no apology for including a chippy cafe in this thread. This fairly new addition to Didsbury village is “the business”. It’s everything you hope a chippy is going to be – but rarely is (even here in the north).
Mrs H went with the lunch special at £5.50 – small cod, chips, peas, soft drink – while I went with a standard haddock & chips at £7.25, plus peas, bread, drink as extras.
Both fish were excellent (and their definition of “small” for Mrs H’s cod was not my definition of “small”). Crisp batter – I swear the noise of breaking it open could be heard in Withington. Lovely flaking fish. Chips – cooked through to a good colour with just a hint of wobble and no hint of greasiness. Peas – mushy yet with texture – and loads of taste. Bread – soft white sliced – perfect for the chip butty.
If I was to have a criticism, it’s that they fry in oil not dripping. No doubt that’s good business for them as they can sell chips to the hordes of vegetarian social workers who infest the area.
Other than that – just brilliant.
Edited by Harters, 03 November 2010 - 07:57 AM.
Posted 03 November 2010 - 09:23 AM
Palmiro - Chorlton - Italian
Posted 03 November 2010 - 09:24 AM
Petra - Near the eye hospital - Syrian
Palmiro - Chorlton - Italian
has Palmiro really gone?
Posted 03 November 2010 - 09:50 AM
'Fraid so. A big loss to the area, IMO.
has Palmiro really gone?
Ta for the reminder re Petra - now added to my revisit list. Havnt been for quite a while - I seem to recall the owner had a family connection with the folk who own Aladdin in Withington.
Edited by Harters, 03 November 2010 - 09:53 AM.
Posted 03 November 2010 - 11:14 AM
I'm looking forward to your review of Jem & I, as I dined there a few years ago when it held a Michelin bib gourmand.
At the time it held out much promise and the food was enjoyable. I see it has lost its listing, though not sure when.
Posted 03 November 2010 - 11:25 AM
As of late Simon Rimmer's food is more appealing to me.
Also Manchester Confidential have got an offer on for this month
Posted 04 November 2010 - 02:21 AM
I started to scowl when I saw Cod top of the menu but its in alphabetical order - do people eat Cod in Manchester in preference to Haddock? I thought not anyway I guess thats a whole other thread.
No Ray Knobs tho shame...
We went to a good Chippy in Manchester the other day as we took the youngest to the Science Museum we stood eating our chips outside in the Manchester sunshine taking shelter in doorway - Fantastic.
Just to complete the anecdote err no I cant remember what its called, I think I need another cup of coffee..
Posted 04 November 2010 - 03:25 AM
David - Earle's on our list for week after next. We'd seen the ManCon deal as well. I loves me a bargain I do.
Edited by Harters, 04 November 2010 - 03:27 AM.
Posted 04 November 2010 - 04:39 AM
Edited by codheadred, 04 November 2010 - 04:40 AM.
Posted 04 November 2010 - 06:08 AM
Still cant remember what its called I guess its old age - in Liverpool both Cod and Haddock are found, but no steak puddings - regardless of this I havent been to a decent chippy here (yet).
Was it the chip hut?
Posted 04 November 2010 - 06:58 AM
Posted 04 November 2010 - 07:08 AM
Posted 04 November 2010 - 07:51 AM
Posted 05 November 2010 - 04:12 PM
A relatively new conversion of the old Barleycorn pub sees established an offshoot of the better known city centre gaff, Albert’s Shed. It’s big. It’s noisy (partly from the low ceiling and hard surfaces, but also from the loud music). Noisy enough that this grumpy old man found it hard to concentrate on conversation with the other side of the table. But grumpy old men are not what Albert’s is about – it is definitely a “young person’s place”. Which was odd – because it was friends of our own age who had picked this place, as one of their favourites.
There’s a fairly wide menu – pizzas and pastas as well as more “modern Brit” food – and it reads quite well. There’s an attempt here to deliver serious food, even if it doesn’t always hit the mark.
Herself started with a special of Bury black pudding which sat on a crisp rosti cake. A couple of slices of fried apple and a drizzle of chive/butter sauce brought it together. Followed by a 28 day aged fillet steak. Ordered at medium rare, it came well done. It should have gone back but that might have spoiled the evening a bit. You get to pick two accompaniments to go with your main – herself went for the ubiquitous fat chips and a rocket salad. Beef was well flavoured, shame about the cooking
My own starter was an absolute cutey. A little shortcrust pastry pie, filled with long cooked beef. It came with a spoonful of mushy peas and little jug of gravy. Clever, Very clever. The main was also well crafted – rabbit stuffed with mushrooms and pancetta and an apple/cider and cream sauce. I liked this – earthy mushrooms and the salty pancetta both worked well with the rabbit, without overpowering it. Alongside, I ordered the chips and roasted root veg. Two perfectly decent plates of food.
Desserts were pannatone bread & butter pudding and a treacle tart. Both with Cheshire Farms ice cream (which isn’t necessarily a recommendation in my book). They were OK but nothing to write home about.
Our guests clearly enjoyed all that had been put before them (but I can't recall what that had been)
Service, whilst efficient, was of the style where the overly chatty waiter wants to be your best mate. I’m not sure there was ever a time when I thought this a good idea and certainly not now I’m a grumpy old man.
Albert’s is certainly popular amongst the local glitterati. There’s a short lunch menu at two courses for a tenner and I might well be back to try that. But, I wouldnt be in any rush to be back for dinner. IT'S JUST TOO DAMN NOISY - I SAID, IT'S JUST TOO DAMN NOISY.
Edited by Harters, 05 November 2010 - 04:15 PM.
Posted 16 November 2010 - 03:57 PM
Set in the leafy suburbs, this is sleb chef Simon Rimmer’s non-veggie cousin of Greens in West Didsbury. It’s sleek and modern – the sort of place that the local footballers’ wives are going to come to when they’re slumming it a bit. We’ve been before, of course, and tonight we were eating on a Manchester Confidential deal that was getting us three courses and a glass of wine for £26. Good saving this – knocking around a tenner or so off the menu price.
It’s a shortish menu, offering around 7 items at starter and main and 4 at dessert. As might be expected, there’s a fairly strong veggie influence and we both went with non-meat starters. Celeriac, blue cheese and sunblush tomato roulade was a belter of a dish. A slice of crisp filo, enclosing the earthy root veggie puree, tangy cheese and very punchy tomatoes. A little salad leaf and a few cubes of pickled beetroot completed it. Seemed very seasonal and absolutely delicious. But – and it’s always a significant “but” for me – it would have been so much better if it had not been fridge cold. The other starter was also veg and pastry – a tart filled with very long cooked onion bound with a little grain mustard. Salad leaf again on the plate in a mustard dressing. A well proportioned and executed dish.
As to mains, my partner went with the “classic “ Earle burger. Good tasting meat, bun that held its shape, chunky coleslaw and a tangy tomato chutney. It came with proper chip sized chips – not fries; not the ubiquitous “fat” chips – just proper chips. Not sure why it’s a “classic” but it’s in its own section of the menu, along with other “classics” like fish & chips, moules mariniere and cheese & herb sausage and mash.
My own plate brought three scallops, perfectly seared, and a small fillet of salmon. Nicely crisp skin on the fish which was just cooked through. The scallops sat on a bed of pea puree with the vegetable echoing in a scattering of petits pois and mangetout. There were a couple of halved new potatoes and I also ordered some chips as the “free” side order which was part of the deal. The plate looked and tasted lovely and seemed to show that Earle’s cooking is punching a little above its weight.
Desserts read as the least interesting on the menu and, in other circumstances, we might have passed. However, it was included in the deal so we both ordered the “crumble of the day”. Turned out to be apple. A generous portion of a very homely cooked and presented pudding. In a good touch, a rich custard was served separately in a little jug.
The restaurant wasn’t too busy and the two serving staff were easily able to cope. Hopefully they have additional staff on nights they expect more customers, otherwise it might well be quite iffy. Overall, this would have been a good value meal had we been paying full price. With the deal it was a cracker.
Posted 16 November 2010 - 05:26 PM
Does Simon Rimmer actually cook during the week (if at all) ? Or does he leave it up to his chef ?
There is a bit of money sloshing about in Hale and environs, bet its packed at weekends.
Posted 17 November 2010 - 06:17 AM
Perhaps because we were on the ManCon deal and not full paying punters, but we had the ghetto table. Bundled into a corner, we couldnt see a bloody thing so no idea if he was in kitchen.
By the by, the bogs at Earle are up a very tight metal spiral staircase on the first floor. So perhaps not the best restaurant to take your elderly granny (or, for that matter, your footballer's wife in her killer heels) - rounding off the evening at Trafford General A & E might not be the best of plans. But, other than that David, it's well worth a shot - Greens gets a GFG entry at a cooking 2 and I'd say this is well up with that.
Edited by Harters, 17 November 2010 - 06:19 AM.
Posted 18 November 2010 - 04:50 AM
Posted 26 November 2010 - 08:07 AM
In the ordinary course of things, L’ecole wouldn’t get a mention on an internet foody site. The food quality is no better than fair pub grub and the service is, at times, awkward. Yet, I’m including it as it’s impossible to overestimate the importance of this place to South Manchester’s “restaurant scene”.
It’s the training restaurant for catering and hospitality students at Stockport College. I imagine that there will be few folk who have eaten in the area who have not, at some point, had their meal cooked and served by an ex-student. It opens to the paying public several days a week for lunch and dinner.
Obviously, these are youngsters still learning their cooking and serving craft and, as this is work in progress, I’m not about to critique their skills in the way that I might for a full-blown trading restaurant. Not least, as they offer a three course lunch, including coffee, for a bargain £7.95.
But, to give a flavour of the place, there are four or five choices at each course and the menu reflects wherever that day’s students are in their course. Similarly, front of house has a mix of experience – obvious first year students trusted with no more than offering bread and water, ranging up to a couple of much more experienced students who are “in charge” and who were clearly ready to be taking up employment somewhere fairly decent.
As to food, our starters were pumpkin soup and a mixed platter of very crisply battered and fried vegetables, served with a mint yoghurt. There was damn good bread served with them. Mains were plaice fillets with a prawn/butter sauce and, for me, pork chop with sweet potato and a mango salsa. Desserts were a plum tart and a chocolate/chestnut gateau.
Enough said that not a scrap was left on any of the plates. And it was all rather good fun
Posted 28 November 2010 - 02:34 PM
Now, OK, it’s a stuff-yourself-silly Indian buffet, but Nawaab is a South Manchester institution so it’s “in” for this thread. It’s not that it’s massive – although based in an old cinema, it is. It’s not that it’s mainly visited by punters of south asian background – it is, but we know this is no guide to “good” – Harvesters are similarly packed out. It is actually about pretty good food. And, of course, the opportunity to be damn greedy.
As with a number of places that have found their way to the area, Nawaab started in Yorkshire and they now have a number of branches. There’s always a good selection of salady starters, yoghurty things and chutneys. There’s always a range of hot starters – fish masala, boti kebabs, vegetable pakora and the like. A large array of main courses – perhaps 20 dishes – all under the watchful eye of the chefs who keep the heated serving dishes topped up and kept looking clean and tidy. Several of the meat dishes are cooked on the bone and the vegetarian offerings are particularly good. But what sets this apart from the run of the mill high street buffet is the range of “specials” which you have to ask the chefs for. That’s things like the lamb chops, the handis, a very tasty haleem, lamb paya. There’s desserts as well which, as usual with Indian sweets are, erm too sweet.
Nawaab used to serve alcohol when it was mainly serving Anglos but no longer does. There’s a very delicious mango lassi on offer as well as a good range of other soft drinks. The buffet costs £12. And it’s well worth it.
Edited by Harters, 28 November 2010 - 02:35 PM.
Posted 02 December 2010 - 03:00 PM
Simon Rimmer seems to be haunting our eating of late. As upthread, we were at Earle the other week. Earlier this week, we had lunch at Sutton Hall in Macclesfield and we're sure he was in. And now tonight we've been at his main gaff.
I suspect if you’re a vegetarian, you’ll always be well pleased with a meal at Greens. And confirmed omnivores, like us, will usually go away reasonably satisfied. No real craving for a nice lamb chop on the side, if you see what I mean. The offerings are generally far superior to the “veggie option” on most bistro-level menus. For instance, a very savoury Lancashire cheese cheesecake comes with a pokey, yet sweet, carrot chutney and some crisp watercress. It could so easily have been ruined by the use of a bland cheese but this one, as we say round here about Lanky cheese, was “tasty”. As with several dishes, the other starter had its roots away from British shores. A crisp puri, topped with peas and potato in a rogan josh style sauce, finished with yoghurt. Delicious.
My partner followed this with Cheshire cheese sausage – Glamorgan sausage by another name. Again, a good choice of cheese made this anything but bland. There was a delicious beer-based gravy in the bowl – again hitting sweet/savoury notes. Usually comes with mustard mash but herself can’t stand mash so swapped it out for chips. My own main had read quite well but was very underwhelming – a “sandwich” of two sheets of puff pastry enclosing what was described as “roasted squash, hazelnuts, caramelised onions in a cream & tarragon sauce”. Well, the squash was there and the cream was there and I suppose the tiny amount of onion meant they had met their obligations there. But the missing hazelnuts would have provided texture; the missing tarragon would have lifted the sauce. It was just bland – not vilely so but just not a great pleasure to eat. My side order of chips were, however, bloody good – just as they had been at Simon Rimmer’s other restaurant, Earle, the other week.
Service had been good. Reasonable selection of reasonably priced wines by the glass. A pleasant enough experience for a midweek dinner, the current Good Food Guide rating at 2 being about right.
Posted 03 January 2011 - 02:33 PM
Amongst Indian restaurants in this area, Sindhoor is a triple rarity. Firstly, it’s Indian rather than the more usual Bangladeshi ownership. Second, it has a “proper” menu of individual dishes – none of the “any protein with any sauce” gloop of the high street curry house. And, finally, the cooking is South Indian – one of, I think, only two in Greater Manchester.
From the offerings of the page of starters, there’s not much that immediately tempts – perhaps lamb chops or one of the rasam soups. But turn to the page of dosas and let your greedy eyes feast on the list. A masala dosa was enormous, perhaps not quite crispy enough for perfection but a good filling of potato, onion, well spiced and with a good chilli hit. From the same page, a new one for me – sambar vada. Two vadas, like damn big dumplings, had been cooked, fried and then allowed to soak in the sambar. I’d have happily eaten the sambar on its own as a thick lentily soup, fresh coriander and curry leaves providing a fresh and complex flavour, along with chilli. This was almost a meal in itself. Almost.
For mains, I went with Chicken Chettinad (Google later telling me this is a classic from the region of Tamilnadu). This was a very rounded dish, again fresh with the taste of curry leaves and coriander, the chilli softened by coconut. I ordered plain rice which was more of the claggy than fluffy variety.
My partner went with a Keralan version of a veggie biriyani. The veggies mainly a delicate mix of broad beans and peas, this seemed a more refined version of the usual North Indian offerings. Certainly it was hotter, yet at the same time softened and almost sweetened a little with distinct flavouring from mint and coriander leaf. Alongside, a little dish of lime pickle, another of a chunky cucumber raita and a small pappadum to give a little crunch.
A worthy addition to the small list of decent South Asian restaurants in the area.
Posted 10 February 2011 - 06:04 AM
Lotus is the other South Indian place in town. It has a full menu of South Indian classics and also a Malaysian menu. So far I've only had a dosa to take away. It was good enough to warrant a return visit to eat in.
I ordered a chicken masala dosa (£5.30 I think) to go. A dosa is probably not the best choice for takeaway as the pancake goes a bit floppy in transit. Thirty seconds under a hot grill crisped it up nicely though.
The results: not bad at all. Crisp, thin dosa, nearly as long as your arm. Spiced potato and chicken curry fillings, generous with the chicken. Classic accompaniments - sambhar and two chutney's. The spicing was fairly decent throughout, with plenty of curry leaves and mustard seeds in evidence, but not really enough heat. South Indian food usually purges you with a full-on chilli blast. This was a bit tame in comparison with my past experiences, but I guess this could just be them catering to the market. Most of the South Indian spots in London are canteens catering to the local Tamil populations, not a particularly big market in Northenden I suppose.
Posted 13 February 2011 - 03:41 PM
The website proudly proclaims that “Isinglass English Dining Room has been awarded the prestigeous [sic] Michelin Bib”. What the fuck’s this all about?
It hasn’t been awarded a Bib. It doesn’t hold a Bib. It didn’t hold Bib in 2010. Or in 2009. Why fucking lie about such things? It’s not just the complete misrepresentation that’s the problem. It now makes me distrust every other statement on their website. And this is a big problem for a place advertising itself on the basis of very specific, very local, food provenance.
And what’s even worse, they don’t need to lie. The food is actually none too shabby and will happily take on the area’s “Modern Brit” competition.
A butternut squash fritter was a substantial looking starter – simply mashed squash formed into a sausage, bread-crumbed and deep fried. Tasted OK but need more seasoning. This was a problem – Isinglass is one of those places where salt and pepper are in open dishes into which generations of punters have dipped their fingers on returning from the bogs or scratching their “down below” bits. No thanks, we’ll eat it bland. And, in this case, not quite hot enough. There was a little horseradish cream, watercress and poached rhubarb which all went to perk it up somewhat
Speaking of the bogs, I paid a visit. Isinglass is one of those places which use paper towels. All well and good – but only if you also provide a bin for the used towels. Otherwise, you just have to throw them on the floor. Which I did.
Any way, back to the starters. My first choice of goose breast was “off”, having sold out at lunch (allegedly). As were my first two choices of main. So it was to be black pudding, sliced lengthways, sat on some watercress and Lancashire “pancetta” and topped with a poached duck egg. Good dish, well executed – meaty, salty, crisp, eggy.
I followed this with a venison Wellington. Nice tasty piece of Bambi, unfortunately on its way to being well done. No duxelles and the encasing pastry limp and a tad undercooked. A good sweet/sharp blackcurrant sauce was bang-on. As was a fondant potato. I’m never sure whether kale makes a good veg – great taste and great look on the plate, but it goes stone cold as soon as you look at it. A dollop of the horseradish cream mentioned earlier worked well.
My partner went for a fillet steak – declared as being 28 day aged from Moorelands Farm. Dunno about the Moorelands bit as I can’t find any internet reference to them so it might be another drop of puffed up porkies. That said, this was steak with flavour. Came with the classic accompaniments – mushroom, tomato and chips. Unfortunately, the ubiquitous “fat chips”, but cooked in duck fat to a good crispness.
Desserts were a fig and apple semi-freddo and a chocolate cheesecake with a star anise and blackcurrant sauce. Both were OK but nothing to shout from the rooftops about.
And, in the final bit of irritation, the bill comes as an un-itemised total, separating only the drinks from the food. £11.45 for the former, £59.30 for the latter. It was probably right but, in this day and age, is an itemised one too much to expect?
Posted 20 February 2011 - 03:35 PM
Dosa Express, Withington
Another worthy addition to the Manchester South Indian food options. Very basic, canteen type of place. I think Sindhoor is probably a bit more upmarket from the description above. The food is fairly good here though.
I ordered a portion of Medhu Vada and the chicken meal special. The vada were freshly fried with nice crispy edges and a soft centre. They were a bit underspiced (chilli, mustard seeds, curry leaves, black pepper, onions are the usual suspects) but pleasant to eat with the accompanying chutney's (coconut, coriander, and one other) and sambar. The highlight of the meal was the chicken curry. The other components of the meal special (poppadum, salad, rice) were ok but the curry itself was excellent. It had a real depth of flavour, with cardamom and cloves being particularly prominent, and a slow building background chilli heat that had me shovelling in rice to cool the fire. Really good stuff.
It's cheap too, £7.26 including soft drink with 20% discount for ordering early.