Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Rose Garden

For too long have we stayed inside on a Wednesday night eating jacket potatoes and watching The Apprentice. With our gorgeous friends Hannah and Kate we decided we owe it to ourselves to eat more lovely meals out midweek, particularly when highly recommended places like The Rose Garden in West Didsbury are doing amazing week-night early bird offers such as their 3 courses for £16.95.

It just so happened that this particular Wednesday was the most beautiful day of the year thus far and therefore the whole of Didsbury was sat outside enjoying the sunshine. We thought The Rose Garden would be dead due to there being no outside seating but it was busy even at 6:30pm and just kept getting busier. 

We were quite surprised when we arrived as the impression we'd got from the photos we'd seen was that the mainly white décor would be quite cold and clinical. This wasn't the case at all, the fact that everything was white brought out the little splashes of colour in things like the yellow roses on each table and somehow made everyone sat inside the restaurant look really colourful too, if that makes any sense at all. 

The set menu had a nice range of dishes with a good option to suit every taste and everything sounded delicious.

For my starter I ordered the Mackerel Kedgeree which was a beautifully presented dish of spiced rice, peas and spring onions topped with a smoked mackerel fillet and a cute poached quails egg. This really was a lovely dish - I loved the crispy skin on the mackerel and the slightly runny egg, and the little surprise of finding loads of bits of yummy mackerel in the rice as well.

Bailey and Kate both ordered the Lavender Chicken Wings which were marinated in lavender, thyme and honey and came with a nice bit of coleslaw. Bailey said the chicken wings themselves were "a bit unremarkable" apart from the unexpectedly strong taste of lavender. The coleslaw however was velvety smooth, creamy and delicious. Bailey insisted I have a taste and I thought putting savoy cabbage in there was a great idea that I will definitely be stealing for my own future coleslaw making.

Hannah had the veggie option of Spring Veg Tortelloni which she said was a lovely "fresh" dish. So everybody happy!

For mains both Kate and I decided to go for the "Rose Garden Fishy Special" for the week of Wild Sea Trout. Another gorgeous looking plate of food and left me wanting to eat it all over again - I loved every bite including the crispy skin on the tender trout, the juiciest sweet roasted tomatoes, crunchy asparagus and deliciously dressed salad. A definite highlight was also the little celeriac and parsnip rosti which came with it which was crunchy and slightly sweet.

Bailey ordered the Zesty Rib-eye which he absolutely loved. He said "it was as delicious as it sounded", especially the pea and spring onion hash brown which is high praise from someone who has a phobia of peas. What really impressed Bailey was how little fat was on the steak for a rib-eye. 

Hannah was impressed by the flavours in her vegetarian option of Celeriac Risotto even though she found it very rich once she'd eaten most of it!

We then faced a difficult decision - to dessert or not to dessert? I secretly really wanted a dessert but Kate wasn't having one, Hannah was undecided and Bailey was doing that annoying thing of saying "I'll have one if you do". Harumph. In the end I just decided to treat myself seeing as I was driving and had been so saintly in not having any wine, which caused a domino effect around the table and resulted in both Bailey and Hannah ordering one too. 

Well that turned out to be a very good choice! I couldn't resist the Egg & Soldiers which sounded fascinating  - a duck egg brûlée with strawberry jam for the 'yolk' and 'soldiers' made of shortbread! Bailey ordered one too. We'd seen something like it done on TV by Martin Blunos but I never thought I'd get the chance to actually eat one so I was very excited. The dessert did not disappoint - firstly it was great because it was so much fun - like how eating a real dippy egg and soldiers is fun (we even played the game at the end where you flip your egg upside down and pretend it's a new egg) but also it was absolutely amazingly scrumptious. The brûlée was sweet, smooth and creamy with a nice vanilla flavour but not sickly. The burnt sugar on top was the perfect amount and the soldiers were quite soft and dense.

The strawberry jam at the bottom was a lovely surprise and was really rich and perfect for having a lovely shortbread soldier dipped in it. I have to say I scraped every last bit of brûlée out of the duck egg shell and thought it was the best dessert I've had in ages. SO glad I got dessert in the end as it was my favourite course. Bailey gave it a "9 out of 10" (apparently the soldiers were a bit too dense for him to give it a 10) and we started plotting how we are going to recreate the dish ourselves to impress future dinner party guests. Lovely stuff, really really!!

Being the greedy guts that we are Bailey and I were happy to swoop in and snap up the last bit of Hannah's Chocolate Orange Tart which was also lovely (the bits of candied orange peel were amazing!) but I definitely think the Duck Egg Brûlée is a more fun dessert to order and I would recommend you get down there and try one for yourselves.

The meal overall was fantastic right down to the friendly and informal but very professional and efficient service. The waitresses obviously loved working at The Rose Garden and were passionate about the food which you could tell just from the way they explained the menu. The food was excellent and all in all it was a great experience - we returned home content and relaxed. Bailey actually turned to me as we arrived home (just in time for The Apprentice actually) and said "I think that was the best Wednesday ever". Amazing - thanks The Rose Garden, you made us very happy!

The Rose Garden on Urbanspoon

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