SquareMeal Review of
Kickstarter-funded Hispi is the third opening from barnstorming chef Gary Usher, following his critically acclaimed Burnt Truffle in Merseyside and
Sticky Walnut in Chester. This Didsbury bistro has a relaxed, homely feel, with cabinets crafted from old Indian window-frames, and tiles from a salvage yard, while the confident, concise menu shows all of Usher’s trademarks – starting off with satisfyingly chewy rye bread and Lincolnshire Poacher butter. After that, sea bream ceviche or char-grilled duck hearts with green sauce and duck-fat brioche might precede pan-roasted lamb rump with braised celery, pearl barley and lovage or cured cod loin with black peas, kohlrabi, smoked bacon and horseradish broth. Veggies do well here (char-grilled tenderstem broccoli with swede and walnut vinaigrette, for example), while desserts could feature custard tart or poached apricot and almond sponge with burnt-butter ice cream. Superb-value lunch and early-evening offers also attract the local punters. In all, the combination of well-executed cooking and convivial surroundings makes Hispi an exemplary local destination.