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[Hale, Greater Manchester] Earle

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It’s a while since we’ve been to Simon Rimmer’s restaurant for omnivores (as opposed to the entirely veggie Greens in Didsbury). We were looking forward to it – the last meal here was pretty good. Unfortunately, we were about to be disappointed. Not disappointed as in it was awful. Just disappointed in that it was nowhere near as good as previous visits.

Soup of the day was an exception. Carrot and orange. Good flavour of sweet carrot, sharpened up by a background twang of citrus. Bread was sliced brown and had been cut quite a while so it was starting to dry out. The other starter was a smoked haddock frittata – served as a slice, obviously made earlier and heated through. It was underflavoured and underseasoned. Shreds of pickled beetroot perked it up and were the best bits on the plate – unfortunately.

I think it’s reasonable to have an expectation that a £26 ribeye steak is going to be a belter, particularly when it’s noted as being 28 day aged. Well, it just wasn’t. It was OK, but it was not a twenty six quid steak. It wouldn’t have been good value had this been London prices. In Greater Manchester, it’s just poor value. Came with a grilled mushroom. And a grilled tomato that had dried mixed herbs sprinkled on the top – that’s herbs as in dried mixed herbs which are not actually contributing any flavour but are contributing a sort of dusty, gritty feeling in your mouth. There’s also a few chips.

The other main was Earle’s take on “pork three ways”. Smoked pork belly tasted good – I’ve not had it smoked before – but it was served with completely flabby skin, a cardinal sin in my book not to serve it crisp. Maple syrup glazed pork fillet was nicely cooked to pink but had no discernible maple syrup flavour and may have been the better for it. The final offering of a faggot was pretty good – nice and offaly. There was a little mash, a little shredded cabbage and some oniony gravy. Another not unpleasant plate of food but one that, with more care, could have been really nice.

We didn’t trouble them for dessert – perhaps needless to say. Espresso was a powerfully flavoured affair but served not quite hot enough.

Service had been “enthusiastic” in the way you often find in American restaurants and, thankfully, you don’t come across to often this side of the pond.

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