I ate at TV chef's veggie and vegan spot in leafy Manchester suburb and will be back in a hurry
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Amongst the many duties of a good daughter, I was tasked with finding a decent vegetarian restaurant not far from Bolton. It was my mum’s special birthday, and I had a lunch to organise, for a Saturday afternoon.
After researching a boatload of restaurants, I came across the menu at Greens, owned by TV chef Simon Rimmer of Sunday Brunch fame. This showcased tasty, user-friendly dishes that didn’t didn’t leave me guessing what was on the plate. I’m a big fan of lucidity on menus. I need to know more than just three-word descriptions of dishes, so Greens Restaurant - who clearly state if their dish is a pie, gnocchi or sausage - is where I stopped the scroll and booked a table.
Arriving at the West Didsbury staple since 1990, the eclectic interior of Parisian-inspired artwork and frill-tastic lamp gave a welcoming vibe befitting a bustling neighbourhood restaurant.
Our 12.45pm sitting saw a mixed crowd of fellow diners consisting of couples and larger families gathering to enjoy a lazy hazy Saturday afternoon.
I ordered homemade gnocchi with tarragon pesto. The seasoned potato nuggets were soft, fat and had a pleasant chew. It was the pesto that rested at the bottom of the bowl that made the dish spring to life. After discovering a pesto pool on the base, I quickly bathed the gnocchi in the precious liquid and greedily tossed plump morsels into my mouth. The toasted pine nuts and grilled tender stem broccoli added texture to the dish, whilst the overall look of vibrant emerald green was pleasing to the eye.
My mum ordered spinach, pistachio and feta filo pie, of which I had a bite. The pastry was baked just right whilst the filling had a pleasant feta tang. The cinnamon laced sauce was inspired, whilst tomato halves had a nice burnished exterior. When cooking I would never pair tomatoes with cinnamon, but it worked in this dish.
Another diner had truffled mushroom wellington. I couldn’t taste the wellington itself due to allergies, however the pastry looked crisp and the filling I am told had a “tasty, meaty texture”. The potato dauphinoise was densely packed with slivers of potato and was excellent with the gravy.
I could easily eat forkfuls of that creamy potato, topped with the accompanying squash purée that brought a hint of subtle sweetness, and a generous glug of gravy, as a meal on its own.
I live for dessert and have often thought of getting this course first whenever I dine out. My dulce de leche cheesecake was sublime and had the texture of a wobbly custard. I would have liked to see a thicker base to cheesecake ratio, but this is a personal preference.
I did have a bite of my husband’s sticky toffee pudding, which we both found just a little too sweet. The steamed sponge was so light, it had begun to disintegrate in the toffee sauce, so it didn’t work for me.
The crème brulée, which arrived with a birthday sparkler atop, had rave reviews from my usually picky mum. She said it was the “best crème brulée” she had eaten this year as it wasn’t “overtly sweet with a fabulous texture like set Greek yoghurt.” She also enjoyed the accompanying sable that had a good crumb too.
From the whole dining experience, I found the service impeccable. Attentive without being intrusive can be a difficult balance, however the staff at Greens were thoroughly fabulous and also one of the main reasons why I would return faster than you can say “cheesecake”.
What we ate at Greens and how much it cost
Homemade gnocchi in tarragon pesto £15.50
Spinach, pistachio and feta filo pie £16
Truffled mushroom wellington, dauphinoise potatoes, squash purée, gravy £16.50
Rosemary salt and pepper chunky chips £4
Dulce de leche cheesecake £7
Sticky toffee pudding £7
Where is Greens?
Address: 41-43 Lapwing Lane, West Didsbury, Manchester M20 2NT