Restaurant review - The Rose Garden, West Didsbury

The Rose Garden, West Didsbury

The Rose Garden, West Didsbury - Credit: Archant

Janet Reeder visits The Rose Garden in West Didsbury and discovers a blossoming delight

Beetroot - The Rose Garden

Beetroot - The Rose Garden - Credit: Archant

Before the apartment boom in Manchester city centre, West Didsbury was a boho hotspot with vintage shops, a Polish deli, a couple of pubs and a handful of restaurants. Now it’s a thriving ‘neighbourhood’ with dozens of places to enjoy everything from a home-made cake to a Chinese and karaoke.

The good news is that most of these places are as independent as their predecessors, including The Rose Garden.

We were so engrossed by how many restaurants lined Burton Road that we walked past The Rose Garden, which from pavement level has a simple cafe appeal. Inside though, the fittings - white walls, funky white chairs with a splash of bright cerise seating and bright yellow accent walls - is contemporary chic.

The Rose Garden is a family-run restaurant. William Mills, the chef started out cooking at The Nose, which those who visited West Didsbury twenty years or so ago, would remember as a bit of an institution. Big for brunch on Sundays where you could drink Bloody Marys and eat croissants and scrambled eggs while poring over the papers.

Steak - Rose Garden

Steak - Rose Garden - Credit: Archant

One thing is certain. He can cook. Really cook. So many places bang on about fresh, seasonal ingredients etc. etc then serve up dishes that are so uninspiring you wish you’d just gone to the local chip shop. Glad to say, it’s not so here.

A Jerusalem artichoke risotto starter packs a punch of well-seasoned springtime flavour enhanced by the crunchy texture of toasted hazelnuts, artichoke crisp and shaved truffles while the mutton and pearl barley broth, haggis ravioli and pickled red cabbage had a spicy mouthful of haggis wrapped in a delicate pasta swathed in an unctuously edible mutton stew cut through with a piquant cabbage.

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Rabbit and Parma ham, steamed pudding, gnocchi, peas and Dijon sauce took star billing. A fantastic ragout of bunny, parcelled up in a light suet crust delivered on meaty, gamey flavour while the vegetables kept it spring-like and light.

We had to order the broccoli, stilton and cranberry roulade, just to find out what the accompanying broccoli meringue tasted like (like meringue actually but coloured green). OK, a bit weird but this worked as a crunchy sweet texture against a light fluffy roulade with a squishy centre and a fresh creamy broccoli veloute.

Oh, and once assured the fries were ‘real’ we ordered a side of chips (anyone else getting mightily fed up of being served up frozen chips in restaurants?). These chips were good.

After starters and mains that delivered on every level we couldn’t wait for the puddings. Again we were filled with deep love for The Rose Garden kitchen! The warm treacle tart came with a crisp almond tuile, roasted apricots and Wensleydale ice cream. It took what can sometimes be an over-cloying too-sweet finale to new heights. A buttery pastry held a squidgy treacle filling, given a deliciously fruity edge from the apricots. The only downside was the ice cream which lacked Wensleydale-ness.

Our other dessert was ‘Chocolate Rose’, a classic combination of chocolate and raspberry. A brownie disc, topped with the clean crisp taste of bitter dark chocolate matched with a sweet fruity coulis and fresh raspberry sorbet was fabulous.

We reluctantly left the restaurant, but with huge smiles on our faces. In spite of all the restaurants popping up all over the place there are few that can make you feel this enthusiastic about the food, plus we had arrived before 7pm on a weekday and were able to have all of this from the set menu, which meant a whopping 25 per cent discount. I’d pay full price though. Price for two with wine, £85.50! w

The Rose Garden, 218 Burton Road,

West Didsbury M20 2LW.

0161 478 0747