Set in the leafy suburbs, this is sleb chef Simon Rimmer’s non-veggie cousin of Greens in West Didsbury. It’s sleek and modern – the sort of place that the local footballers’ wives are going to come to when they’re slumming it a bit. We’ve been before, of course, and on this visit we were eating on a Manchester Confidential deal that was getting us three courses and a glass of wine for £26. Good saving this – knocking around a tenner or so off the menu price.
It’s a shortish menu, offering around 7 items at starter and main and 4 at dessert. As might be expected, there’s a fairly strong veggie influence and we both went with non-meat starters. Celeriac, blue cheese and sunblush tomato roulade was a belter of a dish. A slice of crisp filo, enclosing the earthy root veggie puree, tangy cheese and very punchy tomatoes. A little salad leaf and a few cubes of pickled beetroot completed it. Seemed very seasonal and absolutely delicious. But – and it’s always a significant “but” for me – it would have been so much better if it had not been fridge cold. The other starter was also veg and pastry – a tart filled with very long cooked onion bound with a little grain mustard. Salad leaf again on the plate in a mustard dressing. A well proportioned and executed dish.
As to mains, my partner went with the “classic “ Earle burger. Good tasting meat, bun that held its shape, chunky coleslaw and a tangy tomato chutney. It came with proper chip sized chips – not fries; not the ubiquitous “fat” chips – just proper chips. Not sure why it’s a “classic” but it’s in its own section of the menu, along with other “classics” like fish & chips, moules mariniere and cheese & herb sausage and mash.
My own plate brought three scallops, perfectly seared, and a small fillet of salmon. Nicely crisp skin on the fish which was just cooked through. The scallops sat on a bed of pea puree with the vegetable echoing in a scattering of petits pois and mangetout. There were a couple of halved new potatoes and I also ordered some chips as the “free” side order which was part of the deal. The plate looked and tasted lovely and seemed to show that Earle’s cooking is punching a little above its weight.
Desserts read as the least interesting on the menu and, in other circumstances, we might have passed. However, it was included in the deal so we both ordered the “crumble of the day”. Turned out to be apple. A generous portion of a very homely cooked and presented pudding. In a good touch, a rich custard was served separately in a little jug.
The restaurant wasn’t too busy and the two serving staff were easily able to cope. Hopefully they have additional staff on nights they expect more customers, otherwise it might well be quite iffy. Overall, this would have been a good value meal had we been paying full price. With the deal it was a cracker.