Tag Archives: didsbury

Hispi – Didsbury, Manchester

“There cant be many better bistros in Didsbury named after a cabbage?”

Im probably a bit late. Gary Usher’s latest, crowdfunded eatery blistered onto the scene a few months back. Every dish has been ‘socially media’d’ and all the big reviewers (well the paying ones)! have been and gone. Glowing trails of foodie prose lies in their wake. We all loved ‘Sticky’ and ‘Burnt’ (click to read how much) and so it was expected that Hispi would follow suit.

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We romped in on a cold Sunday afternoon. We had booked, you have to it would seem. The place was packed when we got in. Set moments from the centre of Didsbury Village it cuts a startling dash in its boxy, sagey green exterior.

We were met enthusiastically and set into the lower room. The other two or three rooms move upwards a bit, one gets set in the roof. Decor is smart and uncluttered. Walls are either clean exposed brick or super smooth off white paint. Various shades of contemporary wood fill in the rest. The big crowdfunders get their own mirror. Nice touch.

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Our Sunday menu was printed (as ever) on one side of an A4 sheet. Three courses for £22, two for £18. You get four choices of start and dessert with five go’s at a main. As ever I could have had any. The Flame as ever, struggled a bit! The menus vary slightly depending on time of day, there’s an early doors menu and an evening dinner menu. It probably goes without saying that they then vary seasonally.

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For start The Flame edged into the Squash soup with curry oil, yoghurt and rye bread, though she requested that chef left out the curry. It turned out rather good. Velvety, hot and super tasty, she loved it. I went for the charred mackerel, Jerusalem artichoke, lemon tapenade and parsley. Im not too sure I got all that but it was presented rather nicely and the mackerel itself, with a touch of all the trimmings on each forkful, provided a good few mouthfuls of delight.

It was then a rather over long wait for the mains, as I said they were busy. I had selected my new favourite fish, pan roast skate wing, mace butter, saffron potatoes and spinach. The only downside was that i could have had about four wings rather than the one. The golden spuds were delish too.

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The Flame having furrowed her brow at the choice, mentioned in passing that she loves chicken! She ordered the beef, only for Ashley, our super waitress, to inform us that chef could rustle up a turkey dinner. The Flame was in raptures, and even more so when it turned up. A glorious chunk of moist, yes moist turkey, with a sausage meat patty and cranberry topping. Lovely jubbly.

We then had the cheese course, a Beenleigh blue, with rye crackers and chutney and a whipped fromage blanc with pear, meringue and almonds. The dessert whilst not looking too great and being over simple was actually flipping gorgeous, just up my street. Perhaps it may have looked a bit better in a dark bowl, but hey Im being super churlish here.

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All in all another great little outing at an Usher gaff and get this…ahem…the ‘cookery’ is always ‘on point’ (whose been watching Masterchef? – Ed) and always well presented using great local produce. The DNA set by owner Gary Usher washes through the place. As if to emphasise, we were wonderfully served by Gareth and the ever bubbly Ashley. Both bright and confident with the right tinge of humour.

As the late AA Gill commented, something along the lines of “Your local restaurant should be treasured, use it, cherish it and it will pay you back in spades”. Didsbury has been dealt a good hand with this smart little bistro. I reckon every town and village should have one. Maybe the city’s should have one too, perhaps even Liverpool? Think it should be called ‘Wreckfish’…..watch this space.

Hispi
1C School Lane
Didsbury Village
Manchester
M20 6RD.
Tel: 0161 445 3996
http://www.hispi.net

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Greens – West Didsbury

‘Greens’ as the name suggests, is the place to go for a big fat juicy steak! Only kidding, Greens is a vegetarian resteraunt occupying two shop fronts in the Cheshire village of West Didsbury in south Manchester. It is just one of the many foodie joints that keep the well heeled, Cheshire set fed and watered.

Greens is the brainchild of two Simons, one called Connolly and one called Rimmer. Simon Rimmer is probably better known as the shaven headed TV chef who currently fronts Channel 4’s ‘Sunday Brunch’. Despite being a staunch Liverpool FC fan he seems to be an all round good egg who can knock up some decent scran.
The flame and I rocked up on a Friday lunchtime, we were aiming for a 1pm start but the 20 minute scour round for a parking space meant we were running late and feeling peckish. It might be a good idea to venture in on the tram which has just started to skirt the village. Nonetheless once we’d stepped in we were quickly welcomed and settled in by our young, wiry, bespeckled, waiter Anthony. He explained the menu, lunchtime three courses for £19 or a reduced a la carte. We chose from the a la carte.

The room is plainly decorated with the odd flock feature wall. Plain, dark wood chairs and tables complete the retro, bistro look. Blackboards pick out the special ales available along with future gourmet nights with ‘The Rimster’ (well that’s what I call him anyway!).
To start we shared a platter (£10.50) of smoked cheese sausages, veggie black pudding on lemon mayonnaise, potatas bravas, olives, bread and a lovely mint based salsa. A cracking start.

For mains the flame undertook a huge filo pastry pie (£13.50) filled with nuts, spinach and ricotta all settled on a slew of chick pea stew with some vine tomatoes on the side. She heartily approved.

I chowed through a rather agreeable kedgeree (£13.50) which featured the veggie black pudding again. It had lentils along with the rice, all mildly curried with a soft poached egg on top. It was big, hearty stuff, we could have had sides for more money but thankfully we didn’t as we were well stuffed.

Purely for research purposes I managed to wolf down the ‘Orange blossom, polenta cake with lemon curd and raspberry eaton mess’ (£5.95). The research revealed that this was excellent and that you should keep a bit back for a sweet!

All in all this was a stunning meal, perhaps a bit pricey for a lunch (£48 for the two of us) but I can imagine Greens would be a great night out. To think that normally we would chose a slab of meat or fish and get some veg and spuds spread round the side. It really is a refreshing change to have the pulse, the grain, the legume and the fruit take centre stage in a meal. So even if you consider yourself ‘a meat and two veg man’ I would fully recommend a trip out to Greens, you will not be disappointed.

Greens
41-43 Lapwing Lane
West Didsbury
Manchester
M20 2NT
0161 434 4259
www.greensdidsbury.co.uk