We jumped at the chance to dine at Hispi, when we heard a friend from Cambridge was going to be in Manchester for a few days and was looking for locals to dine with. We’d been meaning to go for ages, but had never quite got around to it. We kept hearing good things so had high expectations and I am pleased to say we were not disappointed.
The decor is uncluttered, plain wood, nothing fancy, exposed brick. It felt very warm and homely. On being seated we were immediately offered water. I loved this as after an hour or so drive to get there I was parched. Service throughout was excellent. Even after the place filled up and got busy.
We started with Beer battered salt pickles, parsley and tarragon mayo (£3.50). These were brilliant. If I had not been in company I probably would have finished off the mayo as it was delicious. The batter was light and the veggies inside the batter had a bite to them.
We also had Sour light rye, Lincolnshire Poacher butter (£3). This was a brilliant bread, a good chewy, tangy crust and a light springy crumb.
To start I had the Chargrilled purple carrot, smoked garlic, rye and yoghurt (£5.50) . Pretty as a picture, I almost did not want to disturb it. The carrot was beautifully sweet and the rye super crispy.
Mr CK had Spiced pork and pistachio terrine, orange jelly, prune bread (£7) He really enjoyed this. I had a wee taste and it was very good indeed, especially the bread. The bread was so good I am going to be researching prune bread and making some at home. Our friend had the Chicken liver pate, apple and grape chutney, toasted rye (£7) He said he had to order this after seeing a reviewer say it was the worst in the world. It was a long way from that. He said it was among the best he had ever tried.
The main event
I had Braised featherblade, curly kale, celeriac puree, truffle and Parmesan chips (£18.50). The picture does not do it justice. It was absolutely delicious. A lick the plate clean dish. The featherblade was meltingly soft, it could have been eaten with a spoon. The celeriac puree was creamy and smooth. The chips crispy and the jus was meaty and perfect. The kale was kale – nothing wrong with it, just kale is not my favourite vegetable.
Mr CK had Oak smoked chicken breast, soy mushroom, red cabbage, barbecue sauce (£17.50) . He loved the chicken, a very subtle smokiness and oh so moist. The pickled cabbage had a nice sharpness that went well with the meat and the barbecue sauce was good and it really tied the dish together. I did not get much of a chance to taste it, butI tried a bit of the mushroom, the saltiness of the soy worked well.
Our friend had the Pan roast venison loin, pear tart fine, kale ragu, confit shallot sauce (£23.50) he really enjoyed this. I certainly had a stab of plate envy when his came out as the venison looked stunning.
I had the dark chocolate cake which came with a beer ice cream, some granola and a fudge sauce – this description is from memory as I forgot to note the name (£8) I could eat this again right now, the cake was wonderful. Like the very best brownie, slight crust and perfect fudgey inside. The granola provided a crunch and the ice cream a little coffee hinted bitterness to offset the sweet of the cake and sauce. I’d love to know what beer was in the ice cream.
Mr CK had Poached Yorkshire rhubarb, whipped fromage blanc, pistachio, meringue (£6.50), he loved it. Perfectly poached rhubarb, the meringue, whipped fromage blanc and syrup all complementing the tart rhubarb perfectly.
Our friend had the Custard tart (£5) – it had a beautiful wobble and the pastry looked great. The main thing is it tasted good and he thoroughly enjoyed it.
I’d highly recommend Hispi, it was the best meal out we have had in a long time and we will definitely be back. It is worth the hour long drive. I think our next visit will be for lunch as it truly is a bargain 2 Courses £16 / 3 Courses £19.