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Harters

South Manchester

62 posts in this topic

Over the coming weeks, I'm planning to revisit a number of local places that, whilst never about to win a Michelin, offer a good dinner. Thought it'd be worth a thread of its own, separate from the city centre one (not least as it may be useful for folk stopping over near the airport)- although I know I might end up talking to myself. My list so far is as follows - please offer up any glaring omissions):

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)


John Hartley

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John, the Alderley Restaurant at the Alderley Edge Hotel in Alderley Edge (where else :smile:)is very, very good.

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

http://www.eatoutmagazine.co.uk/online_article/AA-announces-new-restaurants-achieving-three-and-four-rosettes/9921

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TURQUOISE, HIGH STREET, CHEADLE

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.


John Hartley

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Just spotted this

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 (log)

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AZZURRO, BURTON ROAD, WEST DIDSBURY

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.

http://www.azzurrorestaurant.com/


John Hartley

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FOSTERS, 812 WILMSLOW ROAD, DIDSBURY

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.

http://www.fostersfishandchips.com/


Edited by Harters (log)

John Hartley

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Petra - Near the eye hospital - Syrian

Palmiro - Chorlton - Italian

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Petra - Near the eye hospital - Syrian

Palmiro - Chorlton - Italian

has Palmiro really gone?

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has Palmiro really gone?

'Fraid so. A big loss to the area, IMO.

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 (log)

John Hartley

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John,

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.

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The chippy website has a few nice touches...

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..

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Yep, unlike many places in the north, we seem to prefer cod in the Manc area. Many chippies dont even offer haddock - having it is usually a sign of good place round here, IMO.

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 (log)

John Hartley

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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).


Edited by codheadred (log)

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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?

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if thats pretty much directly over the road from the museum then yes ;)

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Can't think of a chippy near the museum - only Akbars.


John Hartley

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its fish hut - senior management didnt know so I put myself out of my misery and googled "chip hut" which gave me fish hut phew I will sleep easier tonight...

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ALBERT'S, BARLOW MOOR ROAD, WEST DIDSBURY

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 (log)

John Hartley

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EARLE, CECIL STREET, HALE

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.


John Hartley

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I like the sound of Earle, John. Been meaning to give it a try for a while.

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.

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Pehaps interestingly, Earle's website says he does cook there but there's no similar mention on the flagship Green's website. That said, you know what the slebs can be like for not actually being in the kitchen too much.

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 (log)

John Hartley

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L'ECOLE, HEATON MOOR

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


John Hartley

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NAWAAB, STOCKPORT ROAD, LEVENSHULME

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 (log)

John Hartley

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