Can you honestly have a tasty and satisfying meal in the absence of meat?
You feta believe it.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am definitely a gal which enjoys a nice piece of meat (ahem), but occasionally it can be rather refreshing to opt for a dish that celebrates the humble vegetable, and puts effort into the craft of our a well-rounded and flavoursome creation which doesn’t require a juicy steak-like counterpart to depend upon.
Greens had been on my “restaurants to try” list (a very real, almost never-ending list) for quite some time. The West Didsbury eatery is a creation of Simon Rimmer and famed for its imaginative and fully vegetarian menu using carefully selected, local produce.
For a Monday evening, the restaurant itself was fairly busy. We were seated by the kitchen, which allowed us to spy the artistic platefuls sent from the mothership with the task of pleasing both the herbivores and carnivores which occupied the restaurant.
We mused over the menu which suggests a wide selection of bountiful offerings, from light salads, to hearty platefuls of British classics (with a veggie twist).
To start, I opted for a variation of the much-loved Peking duck pancakes you’ll often find me snaffling away in any Chinese restaurant. But instead of using rich, crispy shreds of duck meat, Greens deep-fry oyster mushrooms and serve with pancakes and a spring onion, cucumber and pickled ginger salad and classic plum sauce.
I stuffed, rolled and dunked like a pro – the mushrooms were mild and satisfyingly crisp which worked harmoniously with the fresh crunch of salad. The plum sauce was slightly nondescript but was drizzled liberally none the less for moisture purposes.
On the whole, an enjoyable starter but definitely lacking a certain something (maybe the duck?) And with a £7 price tag, I was slightly surprised to only receive 3 measly pancakes and was left feeling ever-so-slightly unsatisfied and eagerly anticipating the main course.
Whilst the starter had appeared quickly, the mains took a little more time to arrive. The service was almost non-existent with the servers actively avoiding eye contact with the empty plates left on the table.
We finally welcomed the plates to the table (at the same time as bidding adieu to the stater plate which still occupied the table), and eagerly set to wolf them down with hungry gusto.
The spinach, pistachio and feta filo pie arrived upon a tomato and cinnamon sauce and was served with roasted plum tomatoes.
At £13.50, the price for me reflects a bigger portion than the reality, however that being said – it was one darn tasty (slice of) pie.
The pastry was crisp, flaky and delicate, crackling just at the sight of my knife. The layers were well padded with rich and savoury tastes from the wilted spinach and tangy chunks of feta cheese, the tomato and cinnamon sauce giving extra warmth and depth to every mouthful.
Choosing the vegan super bowl for her main, my friend was met with a bowlful of sweet potato and chick pea falafel, complimented with spiced aubergine, tabbouleh, flat bread and tahini yoghurt.
sidenote: It’s super to see there is no danger of watercress shortage in the Greens kitchens.
Wholesome, light and everything you’d expect from this classic combination; no more, no less and nothing exceptional to write home about.
On the whole, I was rather underwhelmed with my whole experience with Greens and everything which came with it. Even after finishing our mains – our dishes were not cleared from the table a good 20 minutes after finishing despite one of the servers eye-balling them every time she walked past.
The food was fair, the prices were not so reasonable but would have been acceptable had the service been more on par.
Maybe they were having an off evening, maybe they had had a long day, maybe they didn’t realise my gilet was actually faux; regardless, the service was sadly not what it should have been and would probably prevent me from returning in the future.
I honestly hate leaving negative comments, normally I’m a flurry of puns and good-food-vibes, but sadly Greens didn’t make me feel this way, but I do hope Greens will see these shortcomings constructively and encourage them to flourish.
If you had a different experience of Greens, please let me know – It’d welcome the knowledge that this was simply just an “off” evening and not something that’s become the norm.