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[West Didsbury, Manchester] Lime Tree

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Harters Jul 20, 2011 12:05 PM

There are some folk who would flag the Lime Tree as South Manchester’s “best”. I wouldn’t be one of them. Yes, it’s been there for donkey’s years. And, yes, it continues to produce reasonably good mid-range food. And, yes, it was packed. But, it misses out on the big flavours and accurate cooking of, say, the nearby Jem & I.

There’s welcoming and efficient service; a menu that’s good to read and well priced for the area (starters at £6 – 7, and mains around the sixteen quid mark) and a wine list packed with stuff by the glass or half bottle which is always a plus point as we are a one drinking person couple.

Moules mariniere were a good offering. Plump, juicy mussels and a tasty classic broth (although this was little more than a moistening of the bottom of the bowl). It came with bread and a thoughtful finger bowl.

The following main was well thought out and executed. A fillet of sea bass managed to get right the combination of moist flakes of flesh and crispy skin. A salmon fishcake provided a tasty carb and there was just cooked, and very seasonal, asparagus, along with a tomato and basil butter sauce. Good dish.

Meanwhile, I ordered my own meat feast and was not about to have got the better of the ordering. The starter was described as “breast of wood pigeon, confit pork belly and Bury black pudding” and was exactly that. Big breast of pigeon cooked rare and then sliced lengthways in two to serve. A lengthways slice of pudding had been briefly fried and was a good meaty, earthy example of Lancashire’s finest. A small slice of the pork belly was similar in texture to the rather slippery version you get in Chinese restaurants. This is a good thing, of course. The meats sat on a little heap of spinach and a light, if overly salty jus.

Calves liver with bubble & squeak could have been a belter of dish. It’d have needed a more precise preparation of the liver to remove sinew but was otherwise nicely “just cooked”. It’d have needed the bubble & squeak to be bubble & squeak. But this was really just mashed potato with a little bit of greenery stirred through with no real sign of seeing any crust-inducing heat from the pan. There was a different thin and overly salty jus. Well, of course, I cleared my plate but it was not with any great enjoyment.