Middle Eastern style - Wilmslow Road, Rusholme
May 2011 -
We hadn't been here for a good while. Shame as it's a welcome change from the rest. Caspian stands on its own - a bit like Jaffa in that respect, as doing its own food in its own way. Many of the other Middle Eastern places are almost identical - with the same menus, pictures and similar branding. But not Caspian, even though it serves similar food - by name. The bread, salad and sauces are very different here - the bread is thicker and slightly less crisp and charred (a matter of personal preference but I thought it worked), the salad is a bit more like the Turkish style with dressed red cabbage and the they serve a warm tomato sauce - unique in Rusholme. It all just tastes a bit more more like real food and less like a takeaway. In fairness some people don't like it. - My shawarma (above) was excellent, the guy seving had taken the trouble to further cook the chicken on the grill so all the small pieces were individually a bit charred and smoky, which made them very tasty. My compinions' kobedas were a mixed bag apparently. One enjoyed, the other didn't - citing it as worse than Kobeda Place and Al Safa - the other was happy and appreciated the differences in style. One of my lunch-mates also managed to get my kebab smothered in sauce by the guy serving - never a good thing, the bread became a soggy mess pretty quickly - needless to say he didn't make the same mistake with his own kebab. One of the good things in previous visits was that the kebabs were not pre-assembled - today they were, which was a minor disappointment - though I'm sure it would be easy enough to ask for everything separately. When all the other places are so similar its nice to come somewhere different and just that little bit more authentic and clean tasting..Chicken Shawarma (pictured) was £3.90, Kobeda £3.40.
More blurb from 2009
Caspian is described as Persian, and is one of the more unusual kebab places in Rusholme - perhaps because it does not follow many of the accepted conventions. Meat, salad and sauces are all served seperately on one plate and the bread or rice in a basket or additional plate. Every item is of a high standard. In keeping with other Middle Eastern places the flavourings are more subtle than their Pakistani/Indian counterparts. The range of other dishes and large portions make this a place to look out for. However its lack of similarity to the usual keabab experience (i.e. all ingredients here are not combined into a huge sandwich with lots of chilli sauce and yoghurt) might put some people off. You leave here feeling you've eaten a proper meal. The interior is clean and light, making this a welcome and genuinely different addition to Rusholme kebab scene - though they offer much more than that.
Scores out of 10