[Didsbury, Manchester] No. 4
When we’ve been travelling round, I’ve often thought that some restaurants are just what you’d like to transplant from wherever they are to where we live. Well, No. 4 is another one – only this time, it actually is where we live. It’s got everything you need for you to become a regular so it’s odd that, whilst we’ve been for lunch in the past, this was the first time for dinner. So, a nice bistro-y environment, staffed by folk who know their craft and practice it with a smile and a kitchen that sticks to a relatively simple Modern British menu that covers most of the expectations.
There was a twice baked cheese soufflé to start. The cheese is a zingy Yorkshire Blue which means that, whilst still very well balanced, there’s an assertive taste to it. And, when you’re ordering, you’re told that it’s going to take 20 minutes which means it’s going to be done properly. It sits on the components of a Waldorf salad, although the traditional apple has been successfully substituted with pear and the dressing is balsamic based. Very successful plate of food to my mind. Tempura vegetables were another success. A lovely crisp batter which stayed crisp all the way through the eating. And interesting vegetables – like a stick of chard, leaf and all. OK, the sweet chilli dipping sauce had probably come straight out of the Blue Dragon bottle but who cares.
Calling a fish stone bass is probably a better marketing idea than it’s other name – wreckfish – and it makes something of a change to see it, rather than the more usual sea bass, although there isn’t any discernible difference in flavour. It was an almost perfect bit of cooking, let down by a lack of crispness to the skin. On the plate was a little avocado salsa which, frankly, didn’t add anything to the dish. On top of that, potato rosti – generously portioned and less successful for it - thinner and crisper would have been better. There’s rocket and a tomato dressing. Decent effort.
Unusually, local Cheshire sirloin steak took my fancy. I’m not a great steak orderer and , more often than not, am disappointed when I do, but this was fine. Accurately cooked to medium rare, it had a teriyaki dressing which I hadn’t been at all sure about, but it worked well. There was an oriental feel to the salad – bean sprouts, mooli, peas and pea shoots. And chips. I hoovered it all up very happily.
We skipped dessert and just had good espresso. I doubt if it’ll be long before we’re back.