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Greens reviewed

Ruth Allan goes to the North West’s most famous vegetarian restaurant and gets to the meat of the matter

Published on September 24th 2010.


Greens reviewed

Greens, West Didsbury’s popular vegetarian restaurant, turns 18 this year and if the crowds are anything to go by, it’s showing few signs of fatigue. In an airy space on Lapwing Lane, nut cutlets, stuffed peppers and other veggie clichés are out, in favour of coconut curries, hand-hewn sausages and Middle Eastern inspired hotpots.

Co-owner and chef, Simon Rimmer, is resident cook on BBC2’s Something for the Weekend. He’s also the author of several books, including The Accidental Vegetarian, and the man behind Earle restaurant in Hale too (click here for Gordo’s review). To say that he’s got a lot going on would be an understatement. But his first and most acclaimed project still drags in the crowds.

Being one of the few quality meat-free outlets in the region, Greens appeals both to vegetarians and their flesh mangling mates who feel like a change. This coupled with the fact that, as far as I’m aware, followers of the world’s main religions have few issues with broccoli or harissa, means Rimmer does a booming trade, as evidenced by an expansion not so long ago to a capacity of around 60 covers. It also helps that for a vegetarian restaurant it’s smart too with an art-filled interior with big windows and clean lines. Veggie places are notable usually for an amateurish DIY feel.

Two friends, Rachel and Lianne, live in West Didsbury, so dinner offered the chance to hook up their way for a change. Lianne likes healthy food, Rachel likes hearty food, my son Arthur likes plain food and his dad Mark likes spicy food.

Everything should have been all set for a cracking meal.

Shame then, that the options on offer didn’t thrill me as much as the rest of the party. Nine mains (but no specials) should have been more than enough, but nothing grabbed me, with menu items such as gnocchi with red wine and mushroom ragu (£11.95) seeming too safe an option, even with a hit of authentic pecorino cheese on the side

Lianne’s ‘superfood salad' (£5.95) sailed in first with feta, broccoli, lemon, parsley, mint and more in tow. It was a good start, the health-nut loved it, and the fresh, herby flavours beat my gado gado salad (£5.75) with ease.

Popular in Indonesia, my favourite Manchester take on this dish can be found at Tampopo where it includes boiled egg, crudités and lashings of peanutty sauce. At Greens, it was a milky take on potato salad. “Not sure about that,” said Mark. I was. It wasn’t very good.

His Thai-spiced potato cake (£5.95) was better; hot to the core, with a thick crust of polenta, it came with a vinegary dressing and thin strips of cabbage, carrot and red onion for contrast.

Mains arrived between bottles one and two. First place went to Mark’s kedgeree (£10.95). Creamy rice and lentils formed the soul of this dish, which was decorated with quarters of boiled egg and vegetarian black pudding. Satisfaction incarnate, its rich aroma brought to mind the yellow-hued curry powder that lived in my mum’s spice rack.

Picture by Matt Stansfield

Lianne enjoyed her filo wrap (£11.25) thanks to a hearty stuffing of pine nuts and feta, while Arthur’s sausages (£11.25) were up to Greens’ usual standard.

The aubergine and potato dopiaza (£9.95) wasn’t such a success. Egg plant unveils its tasty side when cooked in enough oil to quench an SUV. Sadly, this hadn’t been given long enough in the pan, and had the bitter, sluggish taste of undercooked aubergine.

My mushroom and Stilton pie (£11.25) wasn’t brilliant either. Under a predictable lid of puff pastry, the stew was peppery but thin, and presentation was poor. The waitress had declined my request for salad instead of mash, so I got an empty lot where the potato would’ve been and it looked sad.

All was not lost however. Out of two puddings to share, a gooey Eton mess won my heart. It looks like a sundae in the pictures, and balanced feather-light cream with hunks of caramelized bananas and toffee with panache. No less charming was the light apple and blueberry crumble with a coconut-flecked caramel sauce on the side (both £5.50). Lovely.

We shared a bottle of El Tesoro Monastrell Shiraz (£16) between courses. Monastrell is not the easiest grape to find on supermarket shelves but it’s worth keeping an eye out for; earthy, romantic and blood-red, it’s perfect for wooing someone over a beefy stew, and I’d definitely order this fellow again. Not that this was that kind of meal.

Overall though, Greens was, on our visit, a mixed bag. Good things about it include the flashes of food inspiration, the ambience, the décor, the puddings and the compact yet intriguing wine list. Bad things are the cast of slightly narky staff, and inconsistency in the starters and mains.

Would I go back? Yes. Would I recommend it? With reservation which is a shame given its reputation and popularity.

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

JoMay 20th 2009.

So which restaurant does 'chick' run??

CastlefieldMay 20th 2009.

I thought you may have a point, so I looked again and could only be arsed reading the first comment, but to me it looks like a veggie kicking off "I ate Wasabi and hated it! Although, yes I am vegetarian and this place isn't intended for a vegetarian - most sushi bars normally some veggie rolls and noodle dishes with tofu and veggies. There were no veggie rolls (only fish - and when asking for a veggie option the waitress then said 'well we have fish', insisting that b.c I'm veggie I must eat fish). So I ordered a soup/noodle/veggie dish and it just tasted of bland broth and noodles (no flavour at all!) Sadly, I was left hungry and unsatisfied. Yo! Sushi may be pricey, but at least they offer dishes for all diets.”

CastlefieldMay 20th 2009.

Judging by the review on Wasabi, Veggies get up in arms at a restaurant having a poor veggie choice. What does this place offer for meat lovers? If I was in a veggie restaurant and knew I couldn't get a meat dish, that's all I'd want, I'd be running for Gauchos! I may give it a go though, cynical old me.

JoMay 20th 2009.

Greg, no they do not cater for all!!

CastlefieldMay 20th 2009.

From what I can see there is no hate or nastiness so jump off your high horse. Its is all about choice, you chose to become a veggie, good for you! However would it be so wrong for a veggie restaurant to have a meat or fish alternative so it's not marginal. I think also from the comments it's clear the food itsn't what it could be and is trying to be meat. So why not specialise in veg but compete with the meat and fish on the menu and have to produce the goods because of that! And I don't think Veggies get slagged off everywhere they go, not outside of Texas anyway.

AnonymousMay 20th 2009.

I agree with the gist of these comments - the food in Greens is fine if not amazing, and I think it is a con to charge the same prices for veggie dishes as for meat/fish dishes, when veggie dishes just cannot be as expensive. This restaurant must earn a packet. Plus, I've never been impressed with the staff at Greens (or at the Lime Tree over the road, for that matter). Anybody who wants a good variety of fantastic veggie food should go to Cachumba, just round the corner on Burton Road - always delicious, laid back and unpretentious (with plenty for carnivores as well!)

tofubabyMay 20th 2009.

why are omnivores so defensive?! you are welcome to eat what you like and i respect your veiws; i just ask the same in return. And to be fair you are in control of most of the food world.I bloody love food and am a damn good cook. i am neither wan or joyless or skinny. I am also a vegan because i believe in living the most compassionate and cruelty free life i can. I dont shout about it, i just get on with my life. And i make bloody brilliant dishes to share that i am proud to say most people don't even realise are vegan (becuase they are not masqerading as faux meat substitutes) I love eating out and always make a point of appreciating somewhere 'mainstream' that caters for vegans (eg dough or tampopo) I wish i could just turn up anywhere and expect more than chips and salad; sadly i cant although places that adapt their dishes get fulsome praise too (the only time i have been to greens they were very rude and expensive and everything seemed full of dairy; much less vegan friendly than i'd hoped) I don't 'expect' to be able to eat anywhere; in my experience vegans usually have a bag full of treats becuase we are used to this problem. I don;t care if somewhere chooses to decline my custom but i do expect honesty and basic hygeine if they do provide vegan foodI accept i'm a minority; most people disagree and think meat is acceptable and enjoyable. good for you. but please try and appreciate how nice it is for veggies to go places we are not confronted with horror and abuse; thats why i dont think veggie places should be expected to serve meat; its about respect for deeply held beliefs.

Dr Basingstoke in Marple.May 20th 2009.

I have found that most ailments can be cured by taking a tablet every 4 miles, I'm only trying to help.

emma graceMay 20th 2009.

If a restaurant advertises itself as vegetarian, then why should it serve any meat? It's not like it's duped you into coming under the false promise of a steak, only to then say "sorry, no meat!". If I went to a restaurant that was called "Prawns Only", I wouldn't demand a steak.

CastlefieldMay 20th 2009.

Surely a restaurant that specialised in vegetarian food but also did meat and fish would produce better vegetarian food as it would have to compete. To be fair I'm sure most chefs don't give an asparagus about veggie meals on their menus. However if you get a restaurant that specialises in veggie meals but also does meat rather than forcing veggies down your throat grandma style, then the veggie dishes will have to be of a high standard. From the above comments and review the food here seems a bit bland. I'm sure Gordo can wax lyrical about many such places on the continent.

SteveMay 20th 2009.

Waiter to Chef: "What have we got on the menu for Veggies?" Chef: "Coffee and petit fours"

Jammy DodgerMay 20th 2009.

Grand Walloper - it is EXACTLY this attitude that gives veggies and vegans a bad name. I believe everyone has a right to a choice, and unless for religious grounds it is a choice, not right and not wrong, but simply the way you choose to live your life. As a farmers daughter, and commited omnivore (NOT carnivore) I was in a long-term relationship with a vegan guy, and this caused us no problems whatsoever, as he never once tried to push his opinions and lifestyle choice on to me. However, when someone such as yourself calls me "disgusting, cruel, and immoral" and compares me to a paedophile for choosing to follow a lifestyle for which our bodies were designed, I'm afraid your argument loses all credibility. I'm sure there's plenty of vegetarians out there who will agree with me.

DebsMcCMay 20th 2009.

I went to Greens last year as a party of four (one vegetarian). The vegitarian loved it, the rest of us didn't. It's nothing to do with a lack of meat but more a lack of taste I'm afraid. Earth Cafe in the Northern Quarter delivers far more taste and always leaves me feeling satisfied - whereas Greens left me craving a steak.

scoteeeMay 20th 2009.

I'll tell you why veggie restaurants dont offer meat .It's becuase the owners are sh*t scared that the fussy ba****ds will not go in, incase the meat got within a yard of the vegetables...apparently it blisters the skin! bloomin drones

ChickMay 20th 2009.

Anon; er, yep, that's what I meant - purely in the name of non-discrimination you understand

GordoMay 20th 2009.

Simon, have you got that rose veal dish on over at Earl's? I just remembered it and want some....

MrsJouseMay 20th 2009.

"Chick says..“ I am fed up of veggies coming into my restaurant and doing nothing but moan. Not enough choice, too expensive blah, blah,blah. Fact is most chefs would rather cook their own hair..." Chick, I think we may have got to the bottom of why people complain in your restaurant if you keep cooking your own hair! Glad you take paying customer's views seriously, by the way. In the meantime, remember Posh Spice bought hair off some Russian person if you're running out of stuff to cook.

AnonymousMay 20th 2009.

I've never heard so much rubbish in all my life!! I think the lack of meat in your diet is taking its toll...

AnonymousMay 20th 2009.

Thanks Simon for that response, its appreciated. I used to love the place, I go out to eat to enjoy the food but to enjoy a night out too- I used to go to Greens purely because I craved one of the dishes - the goats cheese and roasted beetroot choux pastry thing if you want to know :) I will definitely be interested in paying a return visit. Oh and I always had outstanding service there but thats going back a few years now.W

AnonymousMay 20th 2009.

voice of reason - not the way to go about it is it...talking down to people like that, trying to force your views and again, being self righteous, exactly the reason why I will not consider changing the way I want to live my life.

emma graceMay 20th 2009.

Greg's right...us meateaters have every restaurant in the city at our disposal! It's a vegetarian restaurant. Which part of "vegetarian restaurant" makes you think there is going to be a meat option?? I like Italian food. So I'm going to go to Kwok Man and demand a spaghetti bolognese because "that's what I like and you should cater for it". If you don't like what the restaurant has to offer, don't go! Makes sense to me.

AnonymousMay 20th 2009.

You must have sweaty hands wearing those!

east lancsMay 20th 2009.

Anon, that's a ridiculous outlook to have. "Heh, the nuclear core may melt down, if it does we'll deal with it".

billMay 20th 2009.

One of the best starters i've ever had was at this place. Their take on Crispy Fried Duck with Panckes. Simon Rimmer and his team replaced the duck with deep fried Oyster Mushrooms sprinkled with a cinnamon spice mix, which tasted very authentic. The obvious meatiness of the mushroom meant that duck was *almost* not missed.

AnonymousMay 20th 2009.

"stuck" in a non-vegetarian restaurant says all I need to know

GPMay 20th 2009.

Has anyone else noticed how noisy Greens is? I'm not sure what is going on with the acoustics in there but when it is full the noise is deafening.

exasperatedMay 20th 2009.

Anonymous, it isn't a matter of what will be will be. We are causing the problem and can choose our response. I'm certainly not scare-mongering, though if you are afraid, that's a rational response. What are you going to do with the energy?

vegtasticMay 20th 2009.

I went to Greens a few years ago and had to send my food back twice, both times it was inedible. My partners food was ok but the service was very bad, and there's nothing I hate more than bad service in a restaurant. Its a shame as my friend ate there the week before me and said the food was good. maybe it deserves a second chance but the above reviews on the service doesnt look good. Still, its cool that Simon has taken time to read the review and reply, give the staff a firm kick up the arse Mr Simon!

JoMay 20th 2009.

Personally I think Simon has spread himself abit thin, sounds as though this restaurant is not as good as it was or could be. I am into good food, be it with meat or without but going off the review it sounds like it is going downhill...

A doctor writesMay 20th 2009.

I once went to Basingstoke. It was full of people passing themselves off as doctors.

AnonymousMay 20th 2009.

Evolution is why I eat meat. As a child I woke up one day and decided that I must eat meat because of my one millions years of evolution. I'm not like all those others who eat meat because of social conditioning. I drink the mammary gland fluid of another species on a daily basis. Surely that's perfectly natural and happens all the time in the wild? I have canine teeth as long and as dangerous as a sabre tooth tiger so that I can rip out the throats of the animals I dine on. I have a appendix to help me digest my food, it's real cool. My armpit hair evolved to help keep my brain warm and intelligent. I have a clitoris for sexual reproduction, when men's sperm touches my clitoris I make babies. I love cow, pig and sheep meat but I couldn't eat monkey, whale, cat, dog or kangaroo as I didn't evolve to eat them.

JoMay 20th 2009.

I've seen better reviews with lower scorings - sounds like more of a 10-13 to me. EDITORIAL: Sorry the scores were wrong now fixed.

Pedant-a-tronMay 20th 2009.

@ Castlefield - Umm.... only one vegetarian in the comments of that review actually mentioned that they weren't too pleased with the choices given at Wasabi, and in a later post said that they'd try it again since others disagreed. Hardly all the 'veggies get up in arms' scenario that you mentioned?!?! I'm quite amused that non-vegetarians make such a big deal of these things. It's like Militant Omnivorism or something :DAnyway, back on topic. Although I haven't been to Greens very recently, the last time that I did go there was one in our party (omnivorous, though that's not particularly relevant) with a food allergy, and the chef actually altered a menu item that they liked but otherwise would've been unable to eat. It's a pity a lot of other chef's aren't as accomodating!

LisaJKMay 20th 2009.

What's with all the hate for veggies from you meat eaters?!?! Saying there should be meat on the menu at greens, it's a veggie only restaurant and how many of those are there please? You meat eaters have more than enough choice and it's not like you only eat meat and not veg, you can eat both, so you don't NEED meat in Greens, whereas a veggie needs veggie options because we don't eat both! We've chosen not to eat animals and shouldn't be treated like there is anything wrong with that. Each to their own but make it a bit more fair please?

shiveringgoatMay 20th 2009.

LIGHTEN UP! :)Here is superb Vegetarian/Vagetarian friendly seasonal recipe for a starter or snack: (for 2 people) 1 punnet of strawberries washed and trimmed, 1 tbls Balsamic Vinegar, 4 tbls sugar, Thai Basil (£1.20 a bunch in China Town). Mix sugar and vinegar with strawberries to infuse, leave for 10-15 mins then tear 10 basil leaves up and add to strawberries then put into serving bowls and serve to your nearest and dearest preferably on horseback dressed as either Anne Boleyn or disgraced former Tory MP Harvey Proctor, whichever is easier. The taste is wonderful! (Recipe morphed from the excellent Dennis Cotter at Cafe Paradiso near Cork)Footnote: Castlefield and M30 you can add tripe if you want as long as its organic and fair trade and locally sourced from no more than 4 ft away.

BoredofitallMay 20th 2009.

I'm struggling to comprehend how something somebody else eats offends others so much. I know lots of veggies, I know lots of meaties. Some of my veggie friends hatre meaties and vice versa. Whats even sadder is that they try and convert each other with guilt ridden arguments about methane production (both to the cabbage and burger consumers) amongst other inance arguments.The fact of the matter is, if you go to a veggie specialist restaurant and expect a steak you're a bloody idiot.Yes you get good veggie options in places such as Gaucho, but thats because of societal evolution. More people are vegetarian now than 20 years ago, because we have the ability to access knowledge now which aids these decisions. We are more aware of slaughter houses etc, we are constantly being made aware of the impact of our diet on the environment and now moe than ever, we can afford to make these choices. Henceforth, restaurants have to evolve to cater to this mass of new veggies and then they get their own branches. It's the same as a curry house opening, or an Italian. You go there to sample the food of that country/style not because you want chips.I find it insane in a city such as Manchester, people will still complain about the choice of food that is available to them. STOP COMPLAINING and just heed what we're reading which is I think a fair review of Greens..........You should be bloody glad you can still afford to eat out. Fussy b&^*%$£sPhew

AnonymousMay 20th 2009.

pml Chick, do you mean should vegetarian restaurants offer a small selection of meat dishes on their menus?

castlefield in walesMay 20th 2009.

So we can expect no more complaints from veggies on reviews about non vegetarian restaurants then?! As you say, if you don't like it then don't go. If you're not sure about the veggie options of a restaurant have a look on their website or call them! You cannot expect for anyone to feel sorry for you if you're left with veg lasagne after the comments above.

GregMay 20th 2009.

Nor we with you Jo, I'm sure, given that many of your associates, at your own admission, wouldn't set foot in a resturant that didn't serve meat. How petulant, bizarre and backwards that seems. Are you really sure about that statement? Simon's possibly not crying out for your business anyway. (What if the one meat dish that night was bacon and they were Jewish? Oh the floodgates!) Happy eating one and all.

AnonymousMay 20th 2009.

Likewise Walloper, you have just answered so many questions on why meat eaters always have a go at vegetarians!! Although I can't think why you brought paedophilia into it, or maybe you are just plain 'crazy'...you need a good meaty sausage inside you!

JayceeMay 20th 2009.

Wow, I had no idea that a person's choice of eating regime could produce so much acrimony. Whatever happened to "live and let live"?

Dr Basingstoke.May 20th 2009.

I think you've all got a really serious point. I was really disappointed when I recently went to Wagamama and there was no Yorkshire puddings and gravy on the menu....is this discrimination too?...also yesterday Sam's Chop House had no sushi on their menu either. It's a disgrace. I'm off to the Town Hall right now on a clockwork dog to complain.Dr Basingstoke, Marple.

shiveringgoatMay 20th 2009.

Descartes: I think you have a point, maybe its worth pursuing via Brussels and The High Court? - what are your symptoms?

ChickMay 20th 2009.

May I please request that all Manchester vegetarians continue to patronise this restaurant - that way they will stop bothering me. I am fed up of veggies coming into my restaurant and doing nothing but moan. Not enough choice, too expensive blah, blah,blah. Fact is most chefs would rather cook their own hair than cook vegetarian food. They refer to mess around with meat, fish, offal etc. There is only so much you can do to vegetables and beans to make them interesting. Think I may call Green's now and ask what the meat option is ....

JMay 20th 2009.

Thats life dear...man eats animal, animal eats man, animal eats animal etc. etc.You know, there are a lot of people out there that feel strongly about some of the issues you have mentioned but that doesn't mean they have to choose to be veggie. It would be interesting to know actually how many of the so called veggies out there are true to what they say they believe strongly about. Do they wear leather or products made from sweat factories...hmmm yes.

Veggie YankMay 20th 2009.

Why is everyone so horrible to vegetarians? I never fuss at people for eating meat or pressure meat eater to become veggie. It upsets me that people have such anger towards people who choose to not eat meat...it's really sad. Do meat eaters automatically feel guilty for being in the presence of a veggie? Well that's what I'm starting to think. If they feel guilty, that has to speak for itself. You would think that I was rabid for the reaction I get from some people, when I say I don't eat meat. Being veggie is a lifestyle - not just a diet. You wouldn't hate people because they are gay - so why hate on someone b.c they choose not to eat animals? I just don't understand it. BTW - Greens is awesome!!!!!

KarnwilMay 20th 2009.

Amy, you're a 'big meat eater'? Is that a rude reference darling? Or is it because you is a fat laydee.

emma graceMay 20th 2009.

Yes...did you not see me on Dragons Den with them? The worlds first fingerless gloves made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles. Theo Paphitis reckons I'll go far.

AnonymousMay 20th 2009.

I say 'what will be will be', I'm not going to let myself become victim to any type of scaremongering, if it happens, it happens.

GregMay 20th 2009.

But Jo, they DO cater for all.

CraigMay 20th 2009.

Which restaurant is it Chick? Im interested

JMay 20th 2009.

Aw go on Chick which restaurant do you run?

DebMay 20th 2009.

Small world, Ben...I'm from there too! Much better from a distance, I find.

AnonymousMay 20th 2009.

Ok, you stick to your greens and I'll stick to my meat...god I hate patronising veggies!

keith chegwinMay 20th 2009.

I am an omnivore but some of the intolerant comments by meat eaters on here are a bit silly.

happy chickpeaMay 20th 2009.

I agree with Katy. If I was Muslim you would not expect me to make you a bacon sandwhich for lunch. I am vegan for deeply held moral reasons: i had done lots of research and its the right choice for me. It isnt always easy to take but i base my decision on environmental and ethical grounds - and becuase there are so many gorgoeus things i can eat. I love food! I respect your right to disagree and do what you want.... but please don't invade safe havens with your disgusting and vile habits. Meat is murder and milk is rape. There, i've said it now becuase i am sick of being victimised and oppressed and margnialised by cruel and selfish ba****ds. And vegan food can be wonderful; shame so few resteraunts demonstrate this is manchester but try dandelion and burdock (sowerby bridge) or any number of other placesIncidentally, Greens isnt veggie for moral reasons - simon rimmer has always said this (and has promoted hunting etc on various occasions) and it does prove there is profit to be made

AnonymousMay 20th 2009.

The food in Greens used to be outstanding - even my bloke used to love it and he likes his steak so rare that it just needs a good vet...but then they began cutting corners in such an obvious way - charging for side dishes, reducing portion sizes, instead of the gorgeous granary bread before a meal they replaced it with cheapo baguette. The quality of the mains went downhill too - I stopped going there after a while - what a shame.

BenMay 20th 2009.

I'm in complete agreement with the vegetarian views on here. I'm not a vegetarian at all, but I completely appreciate how nice it must be for those who chose to be to have a "safe haven," where they don't have to deal with the issues they're against being thrust in their face! To be honest - as much as I enjoy meat, I don't understand anyone who says it's the basis for any meal, I've eaten at greens and various other vegetarian establishments myself and have always enjoyed them. There are just as many amazing veggie dishes as anything you could come up with meat wise! Anyone who thinks its just about quorn and tofu is mistaken! In fact, I'd even go as far as to say I wish the veggie menu's in most restaurants were larger because so much effort is taken in making them delicious dishes that anyone can enjoy! God - check me ranting on like I AM a veggie. Truth be told, I think I'd die without a good old bacon sandwich on a sunday morning

simon rimmerMay 20th 2009.

wow! seems we need to look at certain aspects of what we're doing. This review is on our staff notice board for all to see. We strive to create the best food we can, and feel that, most of the time, we get it right. I take all feedback very seriously and we have a staff meeting planned to be hyper critical of ourselves and address some of the issues raised. If you do ever feel we're not getting it right please tell us on the night or email us via website http://www.greensdidsbury.co.uk

1 Response: Reply To This...
SandraMay 8th 2011.

I have left a very honest review today (May 2011). I enjoyed Greens from the early 1990's but in the last few years I have had too many disappointing meals and my last visit was the LAST TIME! It annoyed me that your waiter was not interested in the slightest at the poor quality food he was serving me. You say to tell you on the night but your staff are not exactly receptive or helpful (asking me what I want him to do about my undercooked pastry, really!!!!!) so we ended up not eating the poorly cooked food but paying for it! Especially when money is tight (maybe not for you) and this is booked as a treat, bit of a rip-off really.

jackie burnsMay 20th 2009.

we took a veggie son recently and were rather disappointed. As ytou say the 'slightly narky'staff spoiled our exerience. we were unceremoniously waved to an empty table and during the meal a waiter knocked over our wine bottle, not yet empty, and spilled some on the floor. we recceived a brusque ' sorry' and that whas it. i was expecting much better treatment from a widely described top class restaurant

KatyMay 20th 2009.

I am constantly amazed at the nastiness directed towards veggies. No-one is forcing you to eat veg. No-one is telling you you shouldn't eat meat. If all veggies were so because of religion, nobody would dare breathe a word against them. However veggies from choice/dietary need get slagged off wherever they go. Why? What possible harm to they cause to meat eaters? To all those who've slagged off veggies above, please remember you're a traitor to your own cause the next time you have a cheese butty - no meat?!!??! How disgusting.

scoteeeMay 20th 2009.

I have experienced Greens restaurant and here we see the same old veggie arguments...But I do struggle with two aspects of any vegetarian led restaurant.When all is said and done and no matter how good it tastes I can eat a tonne of vegetables or vege based ingredients and for some reason, I just dont feel satisfied (or full).Secondly there is something fundamentally wrong in my mind. I am more than happy to pay £10.95 for a steak sandwich but still struggle with the concept of paying the same price for creamy lentils and rice.To me, it doesn't matter how many times you polish a turd ,it's still a turd.

eve's appleMay 20th 2009.

why would a female find paedophilia more offensive than a male, chick? and being the majority is not the same as being right. i think the analogy with meat eating - which involved torturing sentient beings - stands well. Its about power and cruelty and selfish pleasure and one day, when humanity has evolved, meat eating will be seen as barbaric and evil and outdated (like the catholic church finally condemning child abuse)

Jonathan Schofield - editorMay 20th 2009.

Chick it's happening later this afternoon.

who_are_you saysMay 20th 2009.

The attitude of certain vegetarians and vegans on here is what gives herbivores a bad name, i'm talking about all this 'meat is murder' bussines. The human body is clearly designed to eat meat, althogth if you choose not to and have a balanced nutirious diet you are not exactly going to drop dead. Most humans eat meat for good reason, it is higher in certain nutrients than vegetables and it tastes nice. Coupled with the fact that mans ancestors, millions of years ago switched from from being herbivors to omnivors this accelerated the growth of our brains. Humans are part of nature, nature is cruel, we are by no means the only animals that eat other animals to survive.

voice of reasonMay 20th 2009.

Are any of the 'we are designed to eat meat and i shall.. vegetarians could eat meat if they wanted to.." whiners aware of the impacts of the western diet being so meat & dairy heavy?Not only do rich westerners eat 3x the WHO recommended healthy amounts, they contribute to massive climate change via land change (chopping down the rainforest to grow soy to feed intensively farmed livestock), transportation etc. Many more people could be bed from the same land area if everyone ate fruit/veg/grain rather than meat & dairy. The planet simply cannot produce enough for everyone to 'enjoy' such a diet as many people here are used to - so stop being so selfish and cut down.Everyone could do with realising that a few meat free meals a week is a good thing for everyone, we need more restaurants with more meat free options to start discouraging people form thinking you cant have a meal without meat.I'm not even a veggie btw - but i eat meat v rarely and only form local, organic farms, sustainably produced.

exasperatedMay 20th 2009.

Voice of reason -- that's exactly right. The key point that will mean that we will all have to eat less meat is the environmental one (which is entirely different from the nutrition, cost or animal welfare factors). As the effects of climate change kick in there will be less food growing land available. So how we share it is going to be critical. In any event, as we are a long way from food self-sufficiency in the UK, there will be many more veggies here over the next 40 odd years. Do people wish to be proactive or reactive in rebalancing there diet? What d'you say commenters?

GregMay 20th 2009.

Hooray for you too happy chickpea. You're entitled to vent, minorities rarely get platform to do so, just remember that winding veggies up is a hobby for some people, possibly they're frustrated at not being able to have a pop at kosher and halal food, what with that awkward 'race' angle and all. I don't think you were offensive, it's nice of you to apologise on the board though. Re biscuit1, you're right about veggies having sway over restaurant decisions, it works that way with my friends quite often and the night we didn't go to Choice we spent over £300 between us at another restaurant.

ChickMay 20th 2009.

eve's apple; There is no reason why a female should find paedophilia more offensive than a male - it is offensive full stop. I was merely taking offense with Walloper for assuming I was female. I would worry more about him/her and the comparisons made. No being in a majority, does not equate to being right but hey, the majority gets what the majority wants - that's democracy and freedom of choice

FirstTheyCameMay 20th 2009.

When the farmers tortured the cows,I remained silent;I was not a cow. When cosmetics companies mutilated and abused beagles and rabbits,I remained silent;I was not a cute innocent little doggy or bunny.When they hunted the foxes and ripped them apart,I did not protest;I was not a foxy chick, even though I wore fur.When they choked the fish and shoved hooks in their mouths I did not speak out;I don’t swim, I sit on my sofa and watch TV.When my guilty conscience finally came to me,I changed my ways, what if those things had been done to me?

happy chickpeaMay 20th 2009.

hooray for greg

AmyMay 20th 2009.

Why can't we all just get along! Lets broaden our minds and accept Greens for what it is, a bloody good vegetarian restaurant! Im a big meat eater, but I also love my veggies and think Greens serve them up beautifully! If you really can't live without meat for one meal then why even bother reading the review, let alone commenting on it just bugger off to Gaucho, after all the steaks the only thing worth eating in there! Also with reference to the actual review how can you even compare the mass produced average food they churn out at Tampopo!

M30May 20th 2009.

Castlefield, for once I'm in agreement. My example is that a vegetarian always demands vegetarian food on Come Dine With Me which has to be made separately to everyone elses'. If I went to a vegetarian's house, would they cook me a nice piece of steak or tell me to bugger off and eat my lentils? Total hypocarcy.

Dr BraisingsteakMay 20th 2009.

Trust me, I'm a doctor.

exasperatedMay 20th 2009.

We as in humans. All of us are in the same boat -- on the same planet together. We can choose to get along in atmospheric conditions suitable to human habitat, or not.

boyoMay 20th 2009.

toast!

GordoMay 20th 2009.

Bloody hell, it's taken me three years to make pals with Simon and now this. Groan.

ChickMay 20th 2009.

Gordo; maybe there's the makings of your next 'Vote Now' feature in these rants....?

unieuphMay 20th 2009.

Vegetarians refusing to cook meat is not hypocrisy, rather it is a fulfillment of a moral and ethical obligation. If they were to cook meat, they would be just as drawn into the carnivorous realm as if they were eating it.

noelMay 20th 2009.

@castlefield...the difference is that if you are a vegetarian stuck in a non veg restaurant you can't eat the meat disheres whereas a carnivore can eat vegetables...is it that difficult to understand?

ChickMay 20th 2009.

Grand Walloper; to compare eating meat with paedophilia, now that really is silly, offensive in fact. Assuming I am of the female gender, that's even more offensive. Anyway, given your attitude towards the meat- eating public, who vastly outnumber vegetarians, I wouldn't want you anywhere near my 'gaff' - you'd scare off every other customer

JoMay 20th 2009.

Greg, I'm quite happy with the situation as it is, there are plenty of wonderful restaurants out there who happy to serve wonderful plates of food for me. My suggestion may worked in veggies favour if out with a large mixed group but after some of the comments on here by seriously 'deluded' veggies, I've decided I'll not waste my time. I just wish Rimmer would expand so you could all go there and leave us alone!

lush lizMay 20th 2009.

I've been going regularly to Greens for over 10years...my last visit two weeks ago. I've always had great food ,good friendly service, buzzy atmosphere and my meat eating friends love it too ,they don't feel they're compromising- as it great flavoursome food. I'm also lucky enough to live within walking distant of Earle Hale which offers a few of the great veggie dishes too. Keep up the good work Simon

biscuit1May 20th 2009.

Don't be dismissive of veggies they often hold sway over where a group of friends will eat. Can make a difference to your takings.

cleoMay 20th 2009.

i agree with johnthebrief...

simon rimmerMay 20th 2009.

wow! seems we need to look at a few things. we strive to produce the best food we can with the best service, it seems we're not delivering on all fronts. I take all feedback (good and bad) very seriously and we have a staff meeting planned to address the issues raised. A couple of points, our price point is competetive , all mains are a maximum of £11.25, more in keeping with pizza and pasta than carniverous dining and we still have our granary bread, together with fantastic focaccia, which is more suited to certain dishes. If the person in question was served a baguette I can only apologise and assume we had sold out of the granary/focaccia and had been forced to use a substitute.We will take all this on board and improve and always listen to valid criticism. Simon Rimmer

who_are_youMay 20th 2009.

Noel, vegetarians can eat meat, but they choose not to.

happy chickpeaMay 20th 2009.

I'm sorry if i was offensive but i have found many many comments directed at veggies on this and other threads offensive (how stupid must you be to think fish is a vegetable?!) and i have been trying to find ways to be more subtle but sorry, couldnt come up with any. Its just my views and not something i tend to shout about except when provoked. i'm not self righteous and sorry if i sounded so; perils of email and as i said i respect your (and everyones) views and dont try to impose mine. I've never posted here before and never commented about the many reviews which only focus on meat based gluttony. For myself, and many people i know, my health is massively improved by being vegan but again: personal choice. One thing I will say: many omnivores tend to be so by default and never really think about their diet, hence their surpise and delight when they do eat summat nice thats veggie. Also, I think their defensive when meeting a vegan becuase they dont give thought to their actions. Of course a veggie who lives on chips and fake sausages is going to be ill and miserable but it does not have to be so.

UnimpressedMay 20th 2009.

I went to Green's last week and I'm glad to have the chance to say it was disappointing in case the owners are reading (I should really have said something on the night). The filo wrap with feta/mint/potato was choc full of potato and little else -very dry. A really nervy, super speedy, abrasive waitress made for an uncomfortable night of it as well.

RyanMay 20th 2009.

I've been to Greens once, I don't plan to return. The food was good, but the staff were a bit on the rude side. I went for a family birthday, so we took a cake, when we arrived we asked "please could you bring out the cake for dessert"the response we received was "you have to have our desserts as well" Not only was the woman extremely curt, but I have never been to a restaurant for a birthday and had this response. We had our meal but this really bothered us, we spoke to the manager who said "this is a policy both Simon and I had decided on"I understand they would like people to have their desserts, but to be so rude and treat us as though we brought our own dessert was most unpleasant.Had they brought the cake we would have had coffees maybe some desserts but we decided to go elsewhere.As a result of their "policy" I doubt I will return and people I have spoken to have not been too impressed.

Pedro1874May 20th 2009.

I have not been to Green's for a year or so but on my two previous visits remember being very impressed with the fare esp the Lancashire Hotpot where if I remember correctly, braised celery gave it a meaty taste. It was fantastic and this review has not put me off returning. Great tastes, which turn on my taste buds are what counts with me. I am not a vegetarian.

JoMay 20th 2009.

Well it's all about numbers and I'm afraid the majority of humans eat meat and I doubt that's going to change just yet! Personally I would have thought that Greens would benefit by offering at least one meat dish as I know of loads of people who wouldn't step through the door otherwise. Plus this may encourage the meat eaters when in a large group to compromise every now and then. Everyone has a choice in life so why not cater for all?

AnonymousMay 20th 2009.

Don't tell chick, don't tell!

BenMay 20th 2009.

As a person from Basingstoke myself - I'd be reluctant to ever trust anyone choosing to name themselves after such a place

1 Response: Reply To This...
JanusxxxJune 28th 2014.

Most people's surnames historically were in former times named after where you came from:)

AnonymousMay 20th 2009.

There are many contributers to co2 and I feel quite happy with what I do not contribute to. So I'll stick to the diet I've got thank you.

BenMay 20th 2009.

I'm surprised by the amount of people from basingstoke that live in Manchester actually. I try to avoid going back as much as possible

AnonymousMay 20th 2009.

Gaucho grill and Pau Brazil are both steak places but also have a (surprising) vegetarian menu

scoteeeMay 20th 2009.

hmmm... you finished knitting your fingerless gloves yet Ms G?

shiveringgoatMay 20th 2009.

I'm a Vagetarian, whats on the menu for me?

The Grand WalloperMay 20th 2009.

I wish Chick would tell us the name of her gaff so's I could avoid it like the plague. I hate having to sit beside people eating meat in restaurants, that's why we deserve places like Greens. And on a lighter note, I disagree with tofubaby, I do not respect the views of meat eaters, meat eating is cruel, disgusting, and immoral, and at some point in the future mankind will come to its senses and realise that it ranks alongside cannibalism and paedophilia, and what's more, underneath it all, in your good hearts, you carnivores already know this to be true.

johnthebriefMay 20th 2009.

Bless you Cleo.... Guys, guys - there's no need to attack Greens for being a vegetarian only restaurant - that's their decision and whether or not it's taken on moral lines, as a commercial enterprise it's one they're free to make, and we can all decide whether to go there or not. My problem with Greens is that the food isn't really very good - it's clever and imaginative but ultimately unsatisfying because (in my ever so humble opinion) rather than being unashamedly vegetarian, they serve food that pretends to be the equivalent of a meat dish (lancashire hot pot, sausages etc) and inevitably comes second best in comparison with the real thing.

AnonymousMay 20th 2009.

happy chickpea, who are you calling cruel and selfish? As a meateater I believe it is unhealthy NOT to eat meat. What have we got carnivorous teeth for? It is your call and I would never try to push my beliefs on anyone (murder and rape?) but your comment, to me is offensive and self righteous.

DescartesMay 20th 2009.

That's one thing I'll never understand. Why oh why do so many vegan/vegetarian dishes contain things pretending to be meat?

ChickMay 20th 2009.

J; one that serves foie gras, lark tongue and veal hooves. Just kidding - but I have found it 'difficult' to cater for vegetarians - no matter what I do, they whinge. I own a non-vegetarian restaurant I have come to the conclusion that come the next menu change, I'll do a 'Paul Kitching' - i.e no veggie choice at all - take it or leave it

scoteeeMay 20th 2009.

And another thing, the dishes look great on the images but they look great becuase they look like meat dishes.Bottom left,black pudding,top right steak and kidney pie,second up from the left,lamb curry etc...I feel cheated,Linda Mcartney sausages whats all that about?I might begin a Heston Blumenthal type operation and make mince meat apples and carrot sausagaes you veggies are all cruel...

CastlefieldMay 20th 2009.

Noel, we can both eat cardboard but choose not to. It's about choices, yes it's perfectly possible for carnivores to eat vegetables and I've heard some do daily! However vegetarians can hardly criticise standard restaurants when their own utopia has no choice for carnivores. Even if they had just two 'meat options' that would provide a choice rather than dictating we all eat our greens! Then the veggie dishes could compete and as they often do with me abroad, win over. There's some aubergeine dish I've had all over Italy that wins every time. So it all about choices Noel, generally a vegetarian chooses to not eat meat, it is not that they cannot, just as generally a carnivore on a restaurant trip will choose meat or fish.

voice of reasonMay 20th 2009.

it just bothers me that so many people are not even aware of the issues. It doesn't matter whether you care about animal cruelty or not - there are much more important issues around the whole industry and more people need to be aware and consider them. stop being so argumentative everyone. 'la la la I'm not listening, i dont like what you're saying so i shall ignore it and do as i please and screw the consequences...'

grumpy lentilMay 20th 2009.

people often ask me, quite rudely and often aggressively 'why don't you eat meat?' when i'm just quietly getting on with life. now instead of feeling defensive now i just ask them why they do; i am genuinely interested and usually there is some squirming which i now think is actually guilt or self disgust. i have more respect for people who unadshamedly hunt or revel in their greed and bloodlust. PS Worst, and most stupid question ever: do veggies give blowjobs?!!!

BowksMay 20th 2009.

As much as I see the benefit of eating vegetables from a health perspective, to be completely meat free through life is a travesty. For thousands of years man has battled to get to and remain at teh top of teh food chain and this hard work by our ancestors should not go to waste because of someones belief that it is cruel. Eat meat, it is your god given right to!!!

JoMay 20th 2009.

Maybe I was wrong, let Greens stick to vegetarian food as after seeing some of the comments on here in regards to meat eaters I wouldn't want to congregate let alone eat amongst you lot!

Burton_BabeMay 20th 2009.

I always look in the window, check out the menu and then think - if not meat, why not fish? Pop a bit of fish onto the menu and I might actually step inside. Until them, all just looks a bit over-priced for a plate of beans or whatever.

GregMay 20th 2009.

I'm not usually a preachy vegetarian but I am a committed one. Occasionally, since one can't always avoid eating out and it is usually an expensive disappointment for non meat-eaters, I say something, make a suggestion perhaps, to a restaurant. A party of 9 of us decided not to go to Choice for dinner since there was only one veggie dish and it was wild mushroom risotto which is such a hilarious cliche it might as well have been vegetable lasagne. I suggested maybe they pick something else and was told, brusquely but fairly, since I'd been a bit of a sarcy prick about it, 'We don't pretend to cater for vegetarians'. Absolutely fine and fair. Greens do, however, it's their remit in fact, but because of the wonderful nature of vegetarianism it means everyone else can eat there too, as well as at every other restaurant in the city, isn't that great? It makes me laugh when even that's still not enough. "We want one meat dish! Grr! Kill something!" Haha. It's like straight people who complain about not being let into gay bars. How DARE there be one place in this city that won't cater to my every whim!? You really have to own the whole world don't you? God bless rednecks. What's the veggie equivalent of "Sod off back to Deansgate, darling"?

Pedant-a-tronMay 20th 2009.

Isn't going to a vegetarian restaurant and expecting a meat option akin to going to an Indian restaurant and wanting fish and chips, or an Italian restaurant and wanting dim sum? There seem to be some strange people out there...

CarolineMay 20th 2009.

I went to Greens many years ago when it was bring your own, and funnily enough I don't even remember the whole afternoon, let alone what I ate...

johnthebriefMay 20th 2009.

My own experience of Greens was pretty underwhelming. Most people in the group, while agreeing that the food was clever, were disappointed by it. As an enthusiastic carnivore, there are great vegetarian dishes that I love, but Greens falls down with dishes that are pretending to be meat and and so seem inadequate. A vegetarian hotpot simply seems thin, anaemic and tasteless because it lacks the richness and taste of the real thing. I'm not knocking vegetarian food, but veggie food disguised as a meat dish will always come second best. It's like alcohol-free beer - I'd rather have a drink that isn't meant to have alcohol in than one that is but doesn't. Rimmer's inventive style simply ends up seeming like conceit.

Dr BasingstokeMay 20th 2009.

If any Vegetarians or Vegans would like to be cured I can do a special ManCon reader offer at my surgery for £199.00 + VAT. Dr Basingstoke, Marple.

AnonymousMay 20th 2009.

Hmmm, exasperated. when you say 'we' I take it you mean vegetarians? What is this problem you're all causing

TAZMay 20th 2009.

I went once and vowed never to return. After receiving mediocre food and arsy service, the staff made it clear that it time to go home at 9.45pm by switching off the heatingand the music!!! We got the message and left

SandraMay 8th 2011.

Wow I see things haven't changed since a post back in 2009, poor food & snooty staff!!! I loved this place back in the 1990's but not anymore! I booked for my birthday and paid a deposit, which the staff failed to deduct from the bill on the night, luckily I realised a few days later and had to call to claim it back .... hmmm! Ate there a few months ago and was disappointed, the filo pastry arrived undercooked and when I told the waiter he asked me what I wanted him to do about it (they call this service)!!! I asked for a cooked one but this arrived with the pastry at the bottom so hard that I couldn't break through it with my knife (the waiter saw this and I even commented that it's gone from one extreme to another but he just walked off) ... and they charged me for that inedible mess, with NO apologies! So thank goodness for 1847 Vegetarian Bistro just near the town hall in Manchester, VERY tasty food, value for money, friendly staff and a better environment to relax and chat (not noisy like Greens). I highly recommend 1847, won't be visiting Greens again!

Helen WilliamsonAugust 25th 2011.

As a vegan I don't even bother going to Greens anymore Unexciting options and expensive. Last time I went it was a bland, (cheap ingredients) curry. Could have made a lot better myself. Vowed not to bother again, felt ripped off. No soya milk for drinks either - in a Vegetarian restaurant?!

AnonymousAugust 25th 2011.

How can you possibly make vegan food an EXCITING option? Sorry, but it's always going to be bland. Milk is drunk by vegetarians, only vegans say no to it. This is a vegetarian restaurant, not vegan. As a vegan, just don't bother going out to eat at all......

Helen WilliamsonSeptember 5th 2011.

Wow, you haven't got much imagination around food then have you?
We are the only mammals who drink the milk of another animal, a weird thing to do. Cows milk is made for calves.
Anyway, let's not start a dialogue - it's not going to go anywhere is it?!

AnonymousSeptember 6th 2011.

Go on then, give me an example of how you make vegan food exciting - honest request, because I've struggled to accommodate vegan friends before - now I just don't bother..........

1 Response: Reply To This...
Helen WilliamsonSeptember 6th 2011.

Ok, Well, recently I made potato cakes with coriander, spring onions and chilli. Cooked cold potato, a bit of vegan marg, bit of flour - add the other ingredients, and then make into patties and fry. I then cooked chopped red onion, red and yellow peppers and fresh cherry tomatoes with garlic and made a rich tomato sauce with tomato puree etc. I also griddled some marinated and v thinly sliced tofu (marinated in soya sauce and sesame oil) and then did a lovely leaf salad with a balsamic and olive oil dressing. gorgeous and v tasty. The other thing is there's a lot of recipes online. I am always really grateful when people make the effort to cook for me. Good luck!

the Whalley RangerSeptember 6th 2011.

Ottolenghi, mate! Google it and just be very quiet...

Helen WilliamsonSeptember 6th 2011.

mash the potato!

Spoonbender11February 7th 2012.

Gorgeous inventive starters, delightful desserts, mediocre for a vegetarian restaurant of this standing (resting on laurels a little too much for me), stand offish service & some of the worst decor known?

Helen O`DonnellJanuary 4th 2014.

How disappointing to hear how the food quality, portion size and the once exemplary intimate service given at this unique 'gem' of a place has deteriorated to such a sorry state of affairs. I am a committed vegetarian for the last 26yrs and ate at Greens a few times in the 90's; a couple of times as a large group of staff from the nearby Withington Hospital. Most of the group were omnivores whom were convinced before their visit that they would not find a vegetarian meal tasty or fulfilling enough, but they were totally won over by the generous portions and amazing 'new' taste experiences and it was a firm favourite for our 'ward nights out', but sadly when Withington Hospital closed in 2001 and we moved site to Wythenshawe Hospital, we never returned. However, we had been recently reminiscing about those meals out at Greens and had been discussing a return 'ward night out' but on reading these reviews I would fear we would be sadly disappointed.

JanusxxxJanuary 19th 2014.

Maybe restaurants that have such a large amount of negative comments like on here need mystery diners to judge things when mr rimmer isn't around. I'm free anytime to dine at Greens for free and I only live around the corner on circular road. Feel free to offer me your lovely veggies for free !

JanusxxxJanuary 19th 2014.

Just to add on, friendly staff can be as important as the food. There are times when deciding on where to eat, we've chosen the restaurant where you feel more welcome in. Please check your staff out !

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