Hispi, Didsbury

Earlier this year there was a Kickstarter that really excited me, previously I have backed Exploding Kittens, Heels Of Glory (A Drag Musical) and most recently I also backed Bears vs Babies. Kickstarter is a great way to raise funds to do something, you find out if there is demand, and if there is, the backers feel part of the journey! My most exciting experience with Kickstarter was definitely for Hispi. What a rollercoaster that was, the will they/won’t they raise the funds, the will they/won’t they be open in time for summer, the will they/won’t they be in Chorlton, the will they/won’t they be in Didsbury, the will they/won’t they have backers pull out because they did settle on a site in Didsbury… and then there is the ongoing will he/won’t he, of Chef Gary Usher having a mental breakdown on Twitter (odds are definitely in favour of this happening one day!)

During the Kickstarter campaign, I backed and chose the lunch reward, and only about 4 months after getting my voucher, I managed to make arrangements to visit Hispi for Sunday lunch.

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After being sat down, an unexpected bonus of a glass of excellent Prosecco was brought to us to say thanks for backing.

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We got sat at a table with my favourite view, I love being able to see the pass, watching the chefs busily plating up food, it also means you know when your food is coming, and get to have a look at food headed for other parties, as it inevitably passes your table. I can’t help myself, even though Sara always pulls me up on it, I’m just inquisitive (read: nosey)

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Sara had the warming roast garlic and potato soup, parsley, caraway. This is the kind of soup everybody craves on a cold winters day, it may have been sunny outside with blue skies, but it was absolutely Baltic!

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I chose the Gin cured sea trout, pickled cucumber, yoghurt, pink grapefruit, radish for my starter.

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Firm pieces of sea trout, packed with the flavour of the gin were pleasingly meaty. If anybody sees me eat, they will know I’m one of those people who eat parts separately like a kid, but I couldn’t help get a bit of everything in one bite on my fork with this dish.

I do wish that Hispi’s homemade bread was available on Sundays, as there was plenty of that yoghurt based dressing just begging to be mopped up for my plate, an issue which also cropped up during the main course.

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After seeing it on Twitte so many times, I had to order Roast beef, roast potatoes, carrot and swede, greens, Yorkshire pudding. The first thing that hit me was the smell of the gravy, proper gravy made using pan roasting juices, it immediately took me back to my grandparents when they made roast dinners. It’s why I wish bread was available on a Sunday. (Hint, hint)

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Sara’s main was the Roasted pork belly, greens, apple juice, roast potatoes, pan gravy. A huge slab of rolled and stuffed pork belly, with perfect crackling all the way around. The flesh fell apart so easily, whilst the crackling remained crunchy til the last bite. The roast potatoes at Hispi are similarly excellent, crunchy on the outside with a fluffy interior. Everything a good roastie should be. Then there is also that seductively glossy apple sauce on the side!

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Onto pudding, everyone’s favourite course (whether they admit it pubclically or not!) For hers, Sara had Hazlenut praline, almond meringue biscuit, blackberry sorbet. Probably the most rustic looking dish of the lunch, but it delivered in flavour. An excellent sorbet topped a crisp and airy almond meringue. I loved the flavour of the praline in the middle the most.

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Again, showing how easily influenced I am by pictures on Twitter, my pudding was Parkin, butterscotch, creme fraiche sorbet. I can’t think of a year of my life when I’ve not enjoyed parkin in the cooler months, but usually it’s just a slice with a cuppa. Having it as a dessert just makes a tasty teatime treat into something excellent. Sticky butterscotch sauce helps the cake go down, and the refreshingly tart palate cleansing creme fraiche sorbet prepares you for the next bite. The sauce is so ridiculously good, if bread had been available on Sundays I may have been tempted to dip it in here, too. So, upon reflection, maybe it’s a good thing there was no bread!

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I cant say much more than “you have got to eat here!” about Hispi. It’s not showy food, Gary doesn’t have Michelin ambitions (as far as I know) This is just simple food done to the very best levels.

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