Saajan Halal

Pakistani/North Indian style - Wilmslow Road, Rusholme
11AM till 6AM so we're told.

Pictured: Chicken Tikka on Chapatti (top), lamb tikka on chapatti, Chicken Shawarma on Chapatti, Meat Samosa & a Shami (bottom)

Saajan is the archetypal Kebab House.  It has good and friendly staff, is always open and ready to roll with freshly cooked food and gets it right almost every single time - leading to a diverse range of clientele, which is usually a good sign. Some might complain about the lack of tandoor naan or style of the salad but we consider these minor gripes - plus we usually have chapatti when in Pakistani places. The chicken tikka is probably the best we've had anywhere.

March 2012 - Very little to say about this place that I haven't already. The standard is always high.

February 2012 - Bit of a change, chicken pakoras - refried so crispy but therefore not the healthiest, one would have thought. Tasty. £3.

January 2012 - very little changes. If I don't go here once a month forever I'll be very surprised.

December 2011 - Usual - still great.
Samosa and shami starters - £1.50
Chicken Kebab on chappati
November 2011
The Naughty Kebab for those on Fatkins. a Beast of a meaty feast, chicken shawarma & 2 seekhs. Marvellous.
Another month another kebab here. Not much to say other than it's so reliable and always decent if not excellent - chicken on chapatti is superb.

October 2011 - Lamb tikka for a welcome change - really nicely cooked. Actaully on the grill for less time than the chicken tikka - astonishing.
Familiar charred red of a Saajan lamb tikka, just the ticket. £3.60
September 2011
Nothing wrong with this chicken doner - I refrained from the additional seekhs, unlike on the last few visits.  Not because it isn't a good combo, just an attempt to cut down on the gluttony a wee bit.

August 2011 
Another Fat Gits' Special, this mixed kebab thing is becomming less a treat more a habit. Chicken Doner and Seekh kebab.

Not an awful lot to say other than to express surprise at how busy it was during Ramadan. Most of Rusholme was dead so we returned to Old Faithful. Decent chicken kebab - nothing exciting to say though. Slightly dry if anything.
July 2011
It felt wrong but tasted right. Originally recieved once as a mistake, this meat medely has become a guilty pleasure. Small seekh kebab with additional chicken doner. Best of both worlds - or is that worst? I just don't know anymore but there's something about this cheap bellyful that appeals.

July 11
Not updated for a while - great again, not much to say. Had the starers pictured above and routinely good kebab (chicken shawarma or doner) pictured here - which was particularaly moist. Predictably good is not a bad thing.

Routinely excellent chicken tikka on chapatti - very consistent, looked just like the one pictured top. - No new picture as the light was bad. If you've never had this dish you should.

One of the younger guys was seemingly in a rush to finish my kebab and hacked it to pieces on the grill in an effort to finish the cooking quickly. Not a big fan of this as some usually gets lost down the bars or forgotten about and smaller bits dry out.  Not a massive deal and doesn't normally happen - slight gripe due to the usually very high standards here. Fantastic roti, seekhs and still great flavours on the chicken tikka marinade.

Slight note - medium and small seekh kebabs both have 2. Bit weird - although after the mix up the guys, seeing I meant bigger than small by asking for 'medium', ladled on some chicken shawarma to beef it up a bit. Not what I'd pick but sometimes you've just got to go with it.

Seems hardly worth mentioning trips here - they're always 8/10 - really enjoyed lamb tikka (second picture from top). £3.60, good service, poppadoms, free drinks - what more do you want? The meat being alarming red is an isuue and friends have reported allergic reactions - we've never had any problems but the articifical colouring is off putting to some - again a minor negative.

We like it here, it's reliable, freindly and seems healthy enough to do regularly.

We've pretty much run out of things to say. Great food - great place, great guys who always look after us and quite often give us little extras. Might have to stop commenting on this place for a while as it must be getting dull.

Not amazing today - chicken shawarma was a bit dried out form being in the warming pot for too long - seekhs were good as ever though.. Prices have risen slightly - £3.60 for chicken tikka, £2.90 small seekh and £3.50 for chicken shawarma - still good value.

Slightly disappointing curry takeaway - we don't normally get curries from here. Last time was great, this time a little lacking. There doesn't seem to be much consistency with regard to the 'wet' dishes - as if a completely different guy is cooking each time - with a different method. The grills are very consistent and the reason we come. It will be a while before we come for another curry dish - but we'd have a kebab or chops or whatever from here any (every) day of the week. They weren't bad - just nothing special, the chicken in particular was pretty mediocre - basically tasting of thin base sauce and ginger. Perhaps the Pakistani specials of Nihari and Haleem are the way forward. We went with recommendations which sometimes works out well - not this time.

25/02/11 - great.

It's always a risk having lamb tikka as the temptation is to cook and cook it and it's not as forgiving as chops as it's leaner and off the bone. Saajan did us proud today - tasty and juicy, roti up to scratch with salad and sauces fine. Complimentary poppadoms and drinks on a £3.30 kebab is pretty impressive too. 

A rare curry takeaway was superb. Lamb on the bone and channa really hit the spot - pictured. Pretty rich, but the additional salad helped with that. Good service and a decent price. Can't fault them.

Jan 2011 - Didn't recognise a single member of staff so no free poppadoms or drinks and slightly haphazard service. Hopefully this will improve or the old guys will return. The food was still good - pictured above.

Dec 2010 - We've been going regularly for years it's always between 8/10 and 10/10

Another decent trip. The chicken tikka was superb and the chapattis were great. No real changes to report.

Sep 2010
We go quite a lot - unless something momentous happens there's probably no point mentioning every outing. this place is a minimum 8/10 every time. Chicken tikka and roti is that rare combination of delicious and pretty healthy. 

I feel a bit bad coming 2 days in a row, but this was early evening for 'the works' so I regard that as acceptibly different. Between two we had veg samosa, chops, chicken tikka, karahi gosht (on the bone), rice and 2 chapatti - and were given free popadoms. It was a full on feast. We go on and on about the kebabs here so it was nice to have a curry for a change.  It was a simple dish, we asked for medium (of the choices mild or medium), which was a bit too bland for my taste. It was nice to have a discussion about what was cooked freshly that day and he recommended this dish - which is definitely what I was hoping for.  It was in a slightly thinner broth than usual and less flavoursome in general - less garlic, less ginger etc - perhaps this was for our benefit, I'll ask for it spicy and 'asian style' next time.  Though the lamb was tasty and it was a good portion - quite a simple stew really, but delicious. The chops were great and the rest up to the usual high standards. The whole thing for 2 was £16.30 - and a massive gnosh up.  Good stuff. 

Excellent kebabs made even more notable by the free aubergine pakoras and drinks - yeah we still love it here. Lamb tikka was perfectly cooked too - not overdone as is often the case. 

Good, as ever. 

07/06/10 - Great trip, which we won't bother going into - how different can it be from the numerous others or one last week we didn't record?!? - not much.  However a bit of information came to light - the opening hours of 11AM to 6AM. If you're stuck you know where to go.    

19/05/10 - very good, like a few other regulars places we won't keep re-reviewing unless something momentus occurs. It's good - go!  

March ‘10 - see below for previous review
Saajan has a good reputation with the regular kebab goer as it’s so infrequently off its game.  And predictable as it may sound it was, yet again, just what the doctor ordered.  You might complain about a few things – maybe the salad won’t be to your taste (there’s a fair bit of cabbage and carrot in there – it’s finely shredded and personally I like the fresh crunch). The lack of tandoor bread isn’t ideal, though the chapattis are top drawer and the naan fine. You might not agree that the chicken tikka’s the best around  - but time after time we’ve left thinking it’s pretty much as good as it gets – certainly if consistency is to be taken into account. In short £3.30 for a really good kebab, in a decent place, with friendly service can not be complained about – well, not by us anyway.

First things first – which of the four ‘Saajan’s do we mean? Well, even though their signs may not make it obvious Saajan Halal is in Rusholme on the corner of Wilmslow Road and Thurloe Street, Saajan Halal Café is a couple of doors down and no relation. Saajan Original is in Fallowfield and is part of the same company, with a very similar set-up and finally Saajan Express is in Chorlton – again being a separate business.
Saajan Halal is one of the busiest lunchtime venues in Rusholme – and for good reason, they’re reliable, well priced and always ready to go. The food is usually very good with the chicken tikka and seekh kebabs being some of the best around due to interesting spice blends and excellent cooking. Other items can be more variable depending on who’s cooking them – often in kebab places lamb tikka is over cooked and this has happened here but is not a regular occurrence. There are a good range of salad and sauces and the bread is of a pretty high standard - though the large iranian/persian tandoor naan is not an option. There are plenty of other dishes offer – chops, starters (pakora, samosa etc), fish, chicken and lamb doner and a full range of curries. There are a few minor negative points: the lack of a tandoor means that great naan is impossible, but their excellent chapattis make a good substitute – on occasion inexperienced staff members have made a few mistakes, particularly if they are really busy, but these errors are rare. The service is generally excellent and friendly and the large glass windows and corner location add to the bustling atmosphere. The high turnover means that the food is not left hanging around too long before cooking, which can be a problem in less successful places. Saajan Halal has been well visited for good reason – there’s very little to complain about and it sets the standard for kebab houses of its type - i.e. Pakistani/North Indian.

Scores out of 10
Meat 9.0
Bread 8.5
Salad/Sauces 9.0
Service/Setting 9.5
Average 9.0

View Larger Map


  1. Bought a mixed kebab approximately an hour ago (9pm on Friday 3rd Feb. The chicken undercooked, the lamb was undercooked and tough. For the price of £6.50, the portion size was poor and the quality was shocking, they should be ashamed. Award winning?? not a chance, the kebab was only fit for the bin.

  2. I suspect anpnymous from February 03 2012 has something to hide. A lot of thought seems to have gone into that negative comment to make it sound like the worset place on earth. My experiences have always been good with the food being perpared fresh, large portions and good value. Would always recommend Saajan!