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The Rose Garden Restaurant Review

Jonathan Schofield wants all the readers to book a table: this place is wonderful

Written by . Published on July 12th 2011.

The Rose Garden Restaurant Review

As far as I'm aware the chef patron at the Rose Garden, William Mills, has never claimed to have spent time working with Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver or even Albert Roux.

This is unusual.

The two way spring lamb (£18.95) came with simple but perfectly timed broccoli, carrots and asparagus but the skill lay with the beautiful herb-crusted rack of lamb.

Most chefs whenever they send out information about their sweet selves seem to have a desperate need to find some association with one of the big guns of the kitchen world - although few claim to have worked under Nigella, which would at least produce a memorable mental image. The celeb chef connection may merely amount to a ten minute spell as a pot washer but still they feel it a CV asset.

Not Mills. His time at Manchester bars and restaurants Kro Bar, Felicini, Rhubarb and the excellent but short-lived Ostara, appear to have been enough to perfect his craft. Indeed, judging by the skill shown by Mills on our visit, future chefs might be boasting about having worked with him. 

This was a very, very good meal. It was sometimes handsome, it was sometimes pretty, it was always correctly cooked and timed and often exquisite. The service, the pleasant dining room also made for a good family occasion.

The Rose Garden salt-cured salmon (£6.75) summed these qualities up. It was as pretty as a picture, with flavours to match. The cucumber and fennel salad with a mild horseradish cream was just so, and bunched with the rye bread and the delightful salmon produced an explosion of flavours in the mouth.  

Rose Garden 013The cod cheeks (£6.95) echoed the talent of the salmon. Despite its voguish, predictable, linear presentation, originality came with the cap of smoked applewood rarebit and a lovely cauliflower purree. A smoked pigeon breast (£7.25) was lifted high by a blackberry jus and radish.

Mains spoiled us.

The two way spring lamb (£18.95) came with simple but perfectly timed broccoli, carrots and asparagus, but the skill lay with the beautiful herb-crusted rack of lamb. The latter was a piece of rare skill that lifted the dish very very high. A real class act this.

The pan fried sea trout fillet (£15.95) maintained the presentation standards and gave us a delightful combination of warm potato, fennel, beetroot and a horseradish creme fraiche to add character.

A lamb roast on the two course £13.95 Sunday menu was wolfed down by the ten-year-old. "Good this," he said, "especially the gravy." The spring chicken (£14.95) excelled with a Parmesan crisp over a pea and broad bean risotto.

Rose Garden 015Puddings of rhubarb trio (£6.50) and cherry choc fondant (£5.90) showed that desserts weren't an afterthought.

The fondant broke beautifully and was gloriously sodden with fat cherries. The nineteen-year-old and the fourteen-year-old approved. The adults fought over the rhubarb.

The youngest was supplied with a £2 bowl of chocolate ice cream. This is a video of him enjoying it while talking feminism click here.

The wine list is tight little thing, carefully controlled, showing flair without being flashy. A couple of glasses (£4.50 per 175ml glass) of Shiraz Cabernet, One Chain, 'The Wrong 'Un, 2009 from Australia were firm, fruity and balanced. The sparkling wines with English, Italian and French offerings should please as well (Champagne, La Chapelle Instinct Premier Cru for £29.95).

Rose Garden 027West Didsbury is almost choking on the number and quality of its dining places. You could eat in a separate restaurant every day of the week and not mind.

Each time I walk down Bridge Street in the city centre and see the empty Luso unit I think how it would be perfect for a clever operator making a name for himself. But Mills probably thinks what with city centre letting costs and the ridiculous on-street parking extensions that it would be a risk too far.

Still once he's cut his teeth on the over-endowed Burton Road it'd be nice if in town he could promise us a Rose Garden. 

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter here @JonathSchofield

ALL SCORED CONFIDENTIAL REVIEWS ARE IMPARTIAL. £1000 to the reader who can prove otherwise, and dismissal for the staff member who wrote a review scored out of twenty on a freebie from the restaurant.

The Rose Garden
218 Burton Road, West Didsbury
Manchester, 0161 478 0747

Rating: 17.5/20
Food: 9/10
Service: 4.5/5
Ambience: 4/5

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Gordo gets carried away.

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13 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

SouthmancJuly 12th 2011.

Wow, this really does look very good. I'm going to be booking in sharpish.

CatalinaJuly 12th 2011.

I'm being accused of being a secret Man Con reviewer after telling everyone about my delicious trip to the Rose Garden on Sunday afternoon! Gorgeous food, lovely people - well done Mills & Co.

Jonathan SchofieldJuly 12th 2011.

Catherine, I was dressed as a woman. Reviewers have to go to extraordinary lengths to avoid detection. The family weren't keen on this but Manchester's a tolerant city.

Richard Burton RoadJuly 12th 2011.

Couldn't resist mentioning the 'P' word could you? And yet, isnt Burton Road also the subject of a tedious debate about parking too?
Have you thought that perhaps Mr Mills doesnt give a flying sea trout about the parking situation in the city centre or anywhere else because he knows that if he has a quality product people will come no matter what the parking situation is? Otherwise he would have opened at Dumplington precinct wouldnt he?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Jonathan SchofieldJuly 12th 2011.

'Course I couldn't. We are running a campaign you know?

Richard Burton RoadJuly 12th 2011.

I hadn't noticed.

JonJuly 12th 2011.

By the way the veggie options look fabulous here the Spring Green Bubble and Squeak and the Chicory Marmalade Tart.

MJuly 12th 2011.

I don't see how you can have too many good restaurants so long as the majority of people are going to the best ones.

Looking forward to visiting.

AnonymousJuly 12th 2011.

thats ok Jon... you were a left over from 'Sparkle'

AnonymousJuly 13th 2011.

Went on the opening night and it certainly knocked many of the michelin wanabees in to a cocked hat.If I didn't live and hour+ away I'd be there every week!

don't believe the hypeMarch 4th 2013.


don't believe the hypeMarch 4th 2013.


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