Posted 23 September 2012 - 01:55 PM
The name surely conjures up an image of a chintzy teashop attached to some minor stately home. That image might put some folk off.
Equally, the reality might also put some folk off. What you get is minimalist decor and furniture– all plain walls, white tables and the sort of white plastic chairs that have their history in the 1960s pop art movement. Add in almost every table occupied and the result is a very noisy environment, with the sound bouncing off the walls.
Beyond that you have a very short, well constructed carte and an even shorter set menu offering two courses for fifteen quid, or three for a couple more. And it’s from the latter that we ordered.
I started with a chicken liver salad which I enjoyed eating, once I played hunt the chicken liver. And I do mean that in the singular – the little nuggets of just cooked meat could not have amounted to more than one liver. They were scatted through a handful of mixed leaves which were well tossed with a lovely sharp red wine dressing. A little drizzle of thinned down sour cream added another layer.
The other starter was the better bet. The cutely named “chip shop prawns” was a cracker. Two battered king prawns sat on their own disc of mushy pea fritter and were each topped with a couple of mini chips. A couple of blobs of tartare sauce set things off. Really rather good.
Hanger steak followed the prawns (on the main carte you have the option between hanger and fillet, at differing costs). A good meatiness here, although as you might expect, a little chewy and scaggy in parts. Also on the plate, three “bonbons” – small balls of long cooked shin, breadcrumbed and deepfried. Really delicious. Fondant potato was OK and the watercress garnish prevented everything from looking too brown.
Ballotine of salmon came from the restaurants “fishy special of the week”. It was a tad overcooked but nothing major to fuss about and it tasted fine, with some mixed herbs running through the centre of each slice. It sat on a pea risotto which was, in the usual way of British restaurants, overly claggy. What was a nice touch was the inclusion on the plate of a couple of triangles of prawn toast – just as you might have in a Chinese restaurant. They brought a welcome bit of crunch.
There’s fierce competition amongst the restaurants in West Didsbury and I’ll happily eat at 5 or 6 of them, all within a couple of minutes walk of each other. Rose Garden is a very worthy addition.
Posted 26 September 2012 - 02:18 PM
The Bay Tree closed in the early summer and it’s not taken long for this new Persian restaurant to settle into the premises. Unfortunately, like the Bay Tree, the cooking just misses the mark and you come away thinking “yeah, that was OK but I think I’d rather have had a pizza” .
For starters, houmous was houmous, but not a good version. Gilasheh was more interesting. A pretty good concoction of soft chicken livers in a sweet and sour pomegranate sauce, with a touch of cinnamon in there. The sauce was rich and very dark and it not only tasted good but looked good clinging to the meat. There were decent flatbreads for mopping up. We had some torshi which came nicely vinegared but the vegetables were chopped really fine so there was little texture.
Mains were a disappointment. Ghomeh sabzi should be a zingy lamb and kidney bean stew, flavoured with coriander, parsley, fenugreek and lime. And it just wasn’t. Nothing unpleasant here but nothing to get excited about – the sort of reaction you might have to, say, an OK shepherds pie.
Barg was a decent slice of lamb loin, but it was overly chewy and lacking in a good lamby flavour. There was a nondescript sauce with it – it could easily have something like passata with a blob of harissa stirred through. The rice that came with both mains was perfectly cooked – nice and fluffy..
My partner ordered bastani for dessert – perhaps the best thing either of us ate during the evening. A rich pistachio ice cream. Really lovely.