I will admit to feeling ever so slightly ashamed this morning. Once upon a time, Rhubarb was pretty much my favourite restaurant - it was one of the first I reviewed for the Manchester Evening News; it was where I took my best friend as a "thank you for being my bridesmaid" present. I loved it there. Then along came Jem&I, with its perfect menu and impossibly perky staff and - most importantly - its location within a few minute's walk of my house and I promptly abandoned my old friend Rhubarb.
So I went back last night, and just like when you meet up with someone you used to love dearly but then lose touch with, I spent the whole time remembering exactly what I loved about Rhubarb in the first place. Mr Liz was won over straightaway by the inclusion of a black pudding and poached egg starter on the menu, while I went for the chicken liver parfait; we both had the fillet steak with wilted spinach and hash browns served with peppercorn sauce for main. The steak was perfectly cooked and incredibly tender, and was accompanied by a proper amount of sauce rather than an artistic smear along the side of the plate. Similarly, the side order of chips was more than enough for two, even with one of those people being a boy.
There's always room for pudding though, and I found space for the sticky toffee pudding while Mr Liz had the "Rhubarb Plate" - creme brulee, ice-cream and crumble, all made with - yes - rhubarb. Service was friendly and swift without being intrusive.
The prices aren't cheap here - expect to pay about £100 for two people to have three courses with wine, but this is comparable with its competitors (The Limetree and - sorry - Jem&I) and the food is excellent. Make sure you book - the restaurant was full despite it being a plain old Tuesday night. Now I've rediscovered Rhubarb, I won't be staying away another four years.
Rhubarb is at 167 Burton Road, West Didsbury, Manchester M20 2LN, tel. 0161 448 8887.