There are three equally weak reasons for this:
1. I don't like its name
2. Before Jem&I, there was a really good caff here selling egg and bacon on toast at breakfast time, and I miss it
3. It is always, always phenomenally busy.
However, I finally overcame these (unreasonable) prejudices last Thursday. Admittedly, I was already weakened by a bottle of rose Moet which had been swiftly consumed in The Pitcher & Piano (January wine sale is remarkably still on), and the chances of me cooking my own dinner were small, so we made the very short journey to Jem&I to see what all the fuss was about.
The place was absolutely packed (see point 3 above), but we were given a charming little table located up above the main restaurant on a sort of mini-mezzanine level (beware if you are over about five feet tall - the sloping ceiling is very low up here). The waitresses couldn't have been nicer, and pretended stoically not to mind having to keep run up and down the stairs to us.
The food here is fairly traditional - we started with the chicken liver parfait (£6.50) and the squid (£7.25) - but beautifully done, and arrives in generously sized amounts. We followed this with duck breast served with duck spring roll and pak choi at £15.95 and a very tender rib-eye steak served with fat chips and sauce bearnaise at £16.95. Puddings were too nice to resist, so we also scoffed a sticky toffee pudding and a banana pavlova before our skirts became irredeemably tight.
The total bill, including a bottle of Bourisset Rose wine, came to £79.05, and I have already booked a return visit. Reviewing my three original objections, I find they are all still true, but I now feel ready to admit I was a fool not to come here sooner.
- Cafe Jem&I is at 1C School Lane, Didsbury M20 6RD, Tel. 0161 445 3996.