Hispi is the third opening from the team behind raved about eateries Sticky Walnut and Burnt Truffle. I won’t get into the soap opera saga of the Didsbury-Chorlton-crowd-funder-thing, suffice to say that Hispi has found a pleasant home in Didsbury.
Now, I’m always intrigued when a restaurant is named after a particular ingredient. What’s so great about Hispi… the cabbage? Is cabbage a personal favourite of the founder? Is it because the word just rolls off the tongue?
So many questions, before I had even stepped foot into the bistro.
The entrance to the bistro is quaint – don’t be mistaken by the cosy space, which opens up towards the back and upstairs. It’s a very good and pocket-friendly lunch menu (2 courses £16, 3 courses £19).
I kicked off with beer battered salt pickles (parsley and tarragon mayonnaise).
Crisp batter with a slightly pillowy interior, embracing zingy pickles was a blimming revelation. These pickles when dunked into the tarragon mayo took these bad boys to the next level. I am still dreaming of these pickles. I’d marry these pickles if I could. In fact, I think Mrs Pickle has a certain ring to it. My mouth has started to water, so we’ll move swiftly on.
My dining partner, who has dined at Hispi before and loved it, opted for the chicken liver pâté (red onion marmalade, rye toast).
She loved it, and I agreed with her, as I managed to surreptitiously swipe a piece of rye bread through the wonderfully unctuous marmalade.
My main of steamed plaice fillet (dill butter, pink fir apple potatoes) was beautiful. People use this word too flippantly these days. I blame Jim Carrey for that seriously addictive meme of him saying B-E-A-UTIFUL. Like here.
Imagine your waiter placing a framed Vettriano (The Singing Butler is divine) on your dinner table, and you’ll know what it means to be presented with a work of art.
The fish was as soft as snow on Christmas morning. The pool of vibrant emerald dill butter was a joy to just gawk at, whilst the deliciously waxy potatoes held a good bite.
My dining partner had the oak smoked chicken breast (soy mushroom, red cabbage, BBQ sauce).
Conversation had evaporated from the table, as we dined in silence enjoying the food. I couldn’t get over the succulent chicken breast, which was full of smoky goodness. When I swiped a chicken sliver through the BBQ sauce, it made me sad that I wasn’t living in Didsbury where I could dine at Hispi every day.
A side of hand-cut truffle chips was fragrant, filling and highly moreish.
For dessert, we both had the barley malt beignets (malt ice-cream, whisky sultanas).
I love dessert and was really looking forward to it. The beignet dough was a little dense for my liking, and the cinnamon a little over-powering. But my god those sultanas were good sprinkled over the ice-cream. Next time, I may try the Eccles cake, or smoked pineapple. Because there will be a next time. Those pickles were delectable, and have made it onto my list of things to eat at my last supper (not to be morbid, but one has to think of these things).
Hispi, you blow my mind. See you again, very soon.
Rating: (1: Hate: I’d rather eat my shoe – 10: Love: I’d sell my kidney for a meal here)
Value for money: 9
Restaurant name: Hispi, Didsbury
Founder: Gary Usher
Open since: 1st October 2016
Address: 1C School Lane, Didsbury, Manchester M20 6RD
Closest tram stop: Didsbury Village
Mon-Thu 12:00 – 14:30 / 18:00 – 21:00
Fri-Sat 12:00 – 14:30 / 18:00 – 22:00
Sun 12:00 – 16:30 / 18:30 – 21:00
How to make reservation: online and telephone
Call: 0161 445 3996
General Manager: Gareth Jones
Whilst in the area check out: Bisous Bisous, who do gorgeous French patisserie to take away.