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Monday, 24 March 2008

Restaurant Review: Saints & Scholars, Didsbury

As Didsbury becomes ever more of a clone town, the death knell for the small independent business tolls ever louder with the news that the old Boots premises are to become either a Starbucks or a Cafe Nero. Add this to the depressing roll call of chain bars and restaurants that now line Wilmslow Road - Slug & Lettuce, Cafe Rouge, Pitcher & Piano, Felicinis (good though it is) - and Didsbury is in danger of losing its identity.

Hurrah, then, for Saints & Scholars, flying the flag along with Jem&I for something a bit different. This charming little restaurant is open all day (9.30 am - 11pm), serving fantastic cooked breakfasts first thing, the best banoffee pie in the world at elevenses and a proper grown-up dinner menu in the evenings. True, the menu hasn't changed in years, but that's not the point. You are free to relax at your slightly wobbly table, listening to Radio 2 as the very charming staff run up and down stairs that are rather bizarrely decorated with scenes from Dennis the Menace (the staircase, not the staff).

Beware of the "light bites" section of the menu, as in the absence of a "starters" section you may well order with gay abandon and woefully overface yourself - these are hefty portions (especially the deep-fried cheeses and the cajun chicken salad). Last time I went I ordered the cheeses followed by the salad along with a portion of chips, whilst my husband manfully ordered the steak from the specials board. This arrived perfectly cooked to order and garnished with the most delicious parsnip chips. Having been caught twice stealing the aforementioned chips from the aforementioned husband, the very charming owner enquired if I would like my own bowlful (yes, obviously) and duly appeared with a very large and very free portion of parsnip chips just for me. You see, you wouldn't get that from a restaurant chain, even if my husband did sulk all the way home about the sheer unfairness of life.

  • Saints & Scholars is at 694 Wilmslow Road, Didsbury, Manchester M20 2DN, tel 0161 4482457

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