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[Manchester, Chorlton] Hotspot Ess Paradies

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Odd name. And a bit of an odd place. Firstly, because we were the only customers. And, second, because it’s German. And German food is as rare as hen’s teeth in these parts. The fact we were the only punters may have accounted for the very warm welcome but I suspect not and that this is just how they are. There’s a menu of food which has a definite feel to be home style cooking which was just what we fancied on a cold winter’s evening.

Sliced frikadelle was one starter. A nice porky, well seasoned meatball by any other name. It came with what was described as Hessian potato salad, with bacon and a dressing tangy with vinegar. The other plate, Rheinlander Reibekuchen – three nicely fried rosti pancakes served with apple sauce.

Unsurprisingly, the menu has its own section for the various bratwurst on offer and another section for the schnitzels. And, because this is Chorlton, there a separate meat free section, no doubt intended to appeal to the vast army of vegetarian social workers who live in the area. But we both ordered from the “meat specials” section. Well, of course, we did.

My dish was the Bavarian farmers platter – basically a fry-up of chunks of potato, sausage, peppers, onions, peas, topped with strips of omelette. Straightforward cooking here. And at less than six quid, there’s no complaints from me. My companion in life chose the lamm eintopf – stew of lamb, potato, onion, chickpeas, beans in a tomato sauce. A few slices of baguette on the side. Again a pleasant enough bowl of food that you could easily cook at home – although, if you did, you’d ensure that the potatoes were actually properly cooked through.

We both went with the dessert that always seem to be mentioned in the same breath as Ess Paradies – Fantakucken. Yep, a dessert made with Fanta Orange. And, yes, it’s a genuine German dessert – if you don’t believe me, then go Google. Actually it wasn’t very good. A nice enough sponge tart, filled with a cream mixed with chopped tinned peaches. And, yes, you get this odd zing that must come from the drink. But elegant it ain’t . It’s the sort of offering you might be eating if “Mum had gone to Iceland” on a bad day. The companion in life’s Mum used to go to Iceland quite a bit, so she enjoyed this more than I did.

But you can’t fault the hospitality. Or the pricing which came in at just over £33, including a water and couple of beers. And the owner gave us a couple of £5 vouchers for next time. Although I’m not too sure there will be a next time.

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