Jonathan Schofield has an offal time in sedate Didsbury
What a pleasant evening on the cobbles in sedate Didsbury. No4 Dine and Wine, next to a bookshop on pretty Warburton Street, feels a million miles from anything to do with a big city. It has the air of a restaurant in a small and comfortable Buckinghamshire town, two streets over from the parish church and three over from Farmer Beckett’s former pig shed now expensively converted into a modestly proportioned £700k commuter cottage.
Coddling a Merlot (a criminal offence in some jurisdictions) and listening to the gentle conversation of gentlefolk was soothing, mesmeric almost. No4 Dine and Wine probably doesn’t get many tourists, its tidy interior and equally tidy menu seem the exemplar of a neighbourhood restaurant in a well-heeled suburb.
The best dish was the Rose calves' livers (£16.95) with a really rich wine jus, a fine mash, spinach, onion rings and smoked streaky bacon. The livers were forgiving, tender and bunched with the spinach and mash, while the cracking jus and the bacon worked wonders. This was a fine dish for those in pursuit of good flavours and a gutsy presentation of the inner organs of beasts, although maybe gutsy is a bit too literal in this instance.
Almost as good were the sauté woodland mushrooms (£6.95) with a mascarpone loosener and enricher plus Parmesan on a brioche. The latter acted like a spongy bed of moss for the mushrooms and the whole was a good autumn dish with strong flavours.
The red Thai vegetable curry (£11.95) with sticky rice and tempura pak choi was a disappointment. It came with a pineapple salsa too which was jarringly sweet and fruity. The tempura elements were bland. Too much salt had to be tipped on the food to give the dish edge.
Meanwhile a vanilla Pavlova pudd was reassuringly sweet given its robust salted caramel sauce, fresh cream and lovely bananas. There was a lot right with that dish.
The latter had come as part of a Tuesday-Thursday deal from 7pm of two courses for £14.95 or three for £18.95.
If you’re in the area and want something that carries quality and feels easy too, then No4 Dine and Wine will do just fine. Usually I cannot stand the word ‘cosy’ in food reviews. It’s one of those trite adjectives dribbled out by the verbally incontinent when they’ve used up their limited vocabulary. But this time I’ll break my own rule, because ‘cosy’ sums up this restaurant just perfectly.
No 4 Dine and Wine, 4 Warburton St, Manchester M20 6WA. Tel: 0161 445 0448
All scored reviews are unannounced, impartial, paid for by Confidential and completely independent of any commercial relationship. Venues are rated against the best examples of their type: 1-5: saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9: Netflix and chill, 10-11: if you're passing, 12-13: good, 14-15: very good, 16-17: excellent, 18-19: pure class, 20: cooked by God him/herself.
(mushrooms 6.5, red curry 5, calves liver 7.5, pavlova 6.5)
The very measure of pleasant and polite
Gentle chatter on a Wednesday evening