Being vegetarian is tricky business. It has its pros - apparently, we’re expected to live longer than our meat eating companions, and we’re often served our meals first on aeroplanes - yet, in my experience, even in some of the best restaurants chefs tend to not put too much thought into vegetarian dishes; a single veggie ‘option’ on the menu often with ingredients that aren’t even vegetarian (I’m looking at you Parmesan cheese!)
For that reason, Greens restaurant has been on my list of places to visit for some time.
Greens is a vegetarian restaurant owned by two Simons, one of which is celebrity chef Simon Rimmer. It’s located in leafy West Didsbury, on the outskirts of Manchester. Rimmer couldn’t even cook when they bought the restaurant in 1990 and, realising they were unable to afford to pay a chef, he taught himself from scratch using cookery books. Greens has since become one of the country’s best vegetarian restaurants.
We arrived just as it opened for lunch last Saturday and, initially, had the place all to ourselves. The interior is quirky, exposed brickwork, glamorous art, statement lamps and floral wallpaper gave something of interest wherever you looked.
The menu featured plenty of innovative dishes, none of your usual token veggie options here. It was lovely to be able to explore a menu full of creative dishes. If you are vegetarian, you'll be in food heaven.
The service was excellent and the staff were particularly helpful with any questions we had about the menu and allowing us to take photographs.
We began by ordering the Veggie black pudding with mustard mayo (£4.50) to share. This is made from a blend of beetroot, pulses, oats and mushrooms and was like nothing I’ve ever eaten before. Crispy on the outside with a light centre full of flavour.
For starters I had Potato, chickpea and cauliflower with a curry spice dressing (£6.00). Why did the cauliflower get embarrassed? because it saw the chick pea!!!
My sister in law (who is not veggie and, despite being tiny, could probably eat a cow in one sitting) had Deep-fried oyster mushrooms with pancakes and a spring onion, cucumber and pickled ginger salad and plum sauce (£7.00), just like crispy duck!
My brother had Patatas bravas with a black-pudding crumb, mojo sauce and garlic aioli (£7.00). We all had a taste of each others starters and they were all incredible but this was the favourite. The sauce was absolutely gorgeous, a really simple dish but full of flavour.
The main courses were equally as good. I chose Halloumi tacos with tomato salsa, guacamole, sour cream and skin on fries (£13.00).
My sister-in-law had Truffled wild mushroom and white bean stroganoff served with rosemary roasted potatoes (£12.50).
My brother had Lancashire cheese and basil sausages with confit garlic mash, beer gravy and tomato chutney (£13.50).
Unfortunately we were all too full to even glance over the dessert menu but I’ll definitely return at some point. Greens is a great restaurant, by the time we left there wasn’t an empty table. Proof that vegetarian food can be popular and shouldn’t just be an afterthought on a menu.
Whether you’re a veggie or a carnivore, I’d recommend a visit.
0161 434 4259