Qila Khyber

Bury New Rd.

 chicken&chickpeas, karahi gosht, daal - Great
 Chicken on the bone, chana and bitter gourd
Slow cooked daal gosht, bitter goard and karahi gosht on the bone - great
 A trio of chicken - with peppers, shahi daal and on the bone
 Fish tikka, salad and chapatti £3.50
 Chapatti - 50p each
Standard Salad served with most meals
They've clearly improved, this is from 2010.

More or less in the number one spot at the moment - great, interesting and varied food, good value and a nice relaxed place.

JUNE 2012
All-but stopped writing about this place. It's my current favourite curry cafe. Almost nothing negative to say. Lamb Pilau with a little Karahi sauce, was unusual, delcious, filling and £5. - Not much more to be said.

And if that's not good enough value try the £3.50 lunch box. Incredible.

February 2012
Keema mattar, pakora yoghurt and lamb & okra (can't be seen under chillies and coriander) - top draw as ever. Love it, £4.50

January 2012
Still smashing it - Chicken Tawa, Karahi Gosht, Keema Mattar. £4.50, brilliant.

Interesting dish - Begum Bahar, chicken keema and tikka mixed. Made an interesting change - didn't bother with rice & 3. £5 all in - can't complain.

Begum Bahar, roti and salad. £5
November 2011
Routinely good. Not much to say, apart from to mention the great variet of vegetables they use here. Interesting lamb and squash dish and there was Karela (bitter gourd) in with keema. Really good stuff.

Bit of a change - no rice and three. Chicken tikka and curries - qabili lamb - thick and lightly coloured with yoghurt - beans (honestly a bit undercooked - shame) and methi gosht, quite bitter but I really liked it.

 Cracking Nihari - one of the best around, mainly because you actually get some good chunks of meet rather than just lamby slop - which is all part of the fun, but it doesn't hurt to have identifiable meat on show.
September 2011
16th - Not much to say except to use a silly joke about Florets Syndrome to describe this huge Gobi Bhaji and to recommend to kids who are fussy about cauliflower. - Oh the okra and chilli pepper veg curry was a bit of an eye opener (and waterer) too.

- Karahi gosht takeaway, very decent.

August 11 - Really interesting, Qabili Pilau & 3 - (seen elsewhere as Kabuli Pilau - so presumably Afghani originally). The plate of bones pictured below is just from the rice. The flavour the bones created was fantastic, rich and savoury - needless to say. There was also meat on them - which was almost more of an unctuous texture than a taste. Particularly interesting too was the 'Lamb White' on the left - almost like a trad korma, but less aromatic, never had anything quite like it. Great trip.

July 11
The only excuse I can give for bring back so soon is that I'd not had a nihari from here. So I came for the sunday treat and it was one of the best I've had. Lots of meat instead of scraps and skin, as served elsewhere. It's just a great dish - long slow cooking, the distinctive flavour of garam masala and some form of aniseed and, of course, the freshening elements of raw coriander, chilles and ginger to add as you see fit. If you've never been to curry cafe on a Sunday give it a go.

Apologies - here a lot lately and not much more to say about the place. Routinelty very good. Chicken Achari and Lamb & poatoes were fine. The main thing about the achari being that they hadn't falsely over soured it with lime picke like most places do. In fact it wasn't sour at all, just a nice chicken on the bone curry. The main point of interest was Chicken Daboo (as spelled by the guy serving, but possibly Dabu in general). Essentially chicken pakora, but on the bone and with sesame seeds - after asking a few questions I was kindly given a piece for free, presumably so they could do some work. A nice change.
 Chicken Daboo
 Chicken Achari and Lamb and Potatoes
21 July 2011
Back again - can't help it. Fish Karahi, chapatti and salad. Just fantastic for £5.50. The Fish Karahi was spiced with coriander seeds and ajawain, it was sublte and delicate - almost herby, the roti were excellent (as pictured above) and finally I took a picture of their standard salad and sauces (again pictured above) - which is a nice addition to any meal. Just love it here.

July 2011 - A first for us, Lamb's brain (the porridgey looking stuff centre bottom). Tasted like mild keema with an offally vibe to it. Very nice actaully and so great to see as an option. It was infact part of chicken and lamb's brain curry - slightly odd as they didn't marry together all that well - but didn't really clash either. As it was a rice & 3 occasion the brain was accompanied by the predictable karahi lamb (top left) and a ghee laden daal (top right) rather sloppy but also fantastic.  My tablemate had Jal Frezi which looked excellent - much like the karahi but with more vegetables, lamb and spinach and the brain and chicken dish. Incredible value at £4.50. If not the best around then very close. -It put last night's sit down £20/head meal into stark contrast.

May 2011 - We go a lot. It's very good. Lamb and Okra, chichen chilli and lamb and potatoes today, all great. We go a lot because it's good. Not much more to say.

Very good takeaway experience - nothing really to add about the food, it was excellent. However if you're in the vicinity grabbing a bag full on your way home isn't a bad option. We got everything cooked freshly and quickly. A real feast for two for about £13.

Running out of comments really - our favourite at the moment. there's something orginal about the food - the thinly sliced lamb passanda was great today - a real standout. It's always quiet enough for a table and the service is perfect - ie quiet and efficient. Love it.

Just Superb - Rice & 3, chpatti, salad and sauces for £5 is fantastic value. Pictured top, all three curries were subtle and delicious - so much so I ordered a chaptti, not to bulk up but to prolong the enjoyment - after which I was brought salad and sauces too (as pictured lower down with the fish tikka) free of charge. A rich and varied feast for £5 in total.

Back again - not much to add I'm afraid.  Still very good and still £4.50.

Really on the ball again - rapidly becoming our current favourite - the staff are excellent too.Interesting selection today, including offal - 3 different chicken dishes, pictured, and spinach and sweetcorn. As well as the crowd pleasing karahi lamb.

Really on form today - first rice and three here in a while. A great selection on offer, including okra, bitter gourd and mixed meat, urid daal a long slow cooked lamb and lentil dish, a mixed vegetable dish and the usual chicken and lamb karahis. we tasted four or five and the were great - with the meat living up to the veg - which often is not the case. Great stuff. On this showing Qila Khyber is up with the best. Great portion and price £4.50.

Quick and healthy, fish and roti pictured. A bargain at £3.50. When it comes to fish you want it either freshly cooked or very recently - depending on your time constraints. This was a the latter, which meant very quick service. There was a pile of freshly cooked fish on the counter and we couldn't resist. The pre-cooked microwaved type isn't great. It was slightly difficult to identify beneeather the marinade/batter or even if it was intended to be a marinade or a batter - a bit of both probably. Though it was exceleently cooked and there was enough interest in the flavourings to make it satisfying, whole coriander seeds provided nice explosions of citrus. Just the ticket. 

After a 3 month lay off due to lack lustre trips Qila Khyber upped it's game. Lamb on the bone, chana daal, kofte and various other dishes were all very good. The slight negative of a rather greasy samosa wasn't enough to spoil it - these things happen. Pleasant staff and environment too. A welcome change from the hustle and bustle down the road at Moghuls.

This was a decent trip. The daal was excellent, as was the keema with potatoes. The attempt at restaurant service makes Qila Khyber more formal than other curry cafes, but the food is good enough to more than compensate. The rice was excellent, and the chicken curry was fine. Well worth seeking out at £4.50 for rice & three.

Just a quick note - another naan down and it was very good - as was the rest of a chicken kebab, with the excepetion of the salad, not a major issue for some. Also one brave member of the party had a 'small' curry - which was £3. Plus a chapatti made it £3.50. Rice & 3 is £4.50 and a far better deal. It would be nice to get a 'small' curry option sometimes but unfortuantely it was so small as to feel like a bit of a rip off by comparison with the full rice & 3 for only £1 less. What's more, it was lamb on the bone and primarily bone. Lesson(s) learned.

Back again to test the final part of the equation - a tandoor naan. It probably sounds ridiculous to go somewhere just to try the bread but anyone who eats in these sorts of places regularly will know that proper clay over naan is a bit of a rare treat in Pakistani places, being more favoured by the Middle Eastern Kobeda guys. Anyway - it was time to give it a try, underneath a couple of seekhs (pictured). It was excellent, but there was a slight stumble at the final hurdle for Qila Khyber as the second naan, served with chicken was a bit under-cooked and doughy - and the salad was disappointing - a small quantity of a poor selection. It was more like garnish than an important component of a meal, too many onions and carrots and almost no leaves. There was a new guy serving today, hopefully he'll learn the ropes quickly as we really like it here and it's on the verge of being spot-on in almost every department. It might seem odd to say the kebabs had great meat and bread and yet didn't quite do it for us this time - perhaps our expectations were too high form previous visits. We'll definitely be back. 

Yet another trip in short period of time - we need to give it a thorough testing!  Intriguing food, including gosht methi and karela keema - really good and interesting too. We think we love it here - a few more visits and we'll know for sure. The ever-changing menu is a real pull. 

Return trip 3 days later, one rice & 3 and two chicken tikka + chapattis were ordered. The main purpose of the trip was to check out the bread and grills. They were definitely up to scratch, tandoor bread, decent salad, nicely marinaded meat, interesting sauces including a coconut/coriander chutney. The kebabs here are quite authentic, and might be a bit subtle for some people. Qila Khyber is probably the best allrounder - ie it's up there for kebabs AND rice & 3. This makes it almost unique.

28/06/10 -
A completely random find – and a very welcome one too.  This is a genuine rice & 3 and kebab place. We were told it has a complete range of everything – lamb tikka, chops ‘all the starters’ – however only chicken and seekh kebabs were on display at the front counter. We don’t really like this as we’ve been fobbed off a few times with chewy, reheated lamb so were not inclined to try it. However, we were also shown a range of six curries and rice in the usual metal trays, plus a huge and interesting looking container of steamed chicken. Whether they really have got everything they claim to have ‘in the back room’ remains to be seen, but there was enough interesting and good looking food on display to convince us to get stuck in. It was a curry day (when isn’t it?) and we opted for rice & 3 – a generous portion too. The personable but business like manager ladled on a good plateful of rice and asked if that was enough, which was a nice touch. The lamb on the bone, chicken masala and channa daal were also dished out in reasonable quantities and the fella then added some more as if it wasn’t quite meeting the weight requirement. This is all good stuff as sometimes we can feel a little like every grain of rice or tiny morsel of meat is being counted – and not in our favour.
The food was very  good. The chicken was probably the standout dish - flavoursome and rich. The lamb was tasty although very slightly tough – the continual slow heat it will receive throughout the day will sort this out, but we were in early. The rice and daal were very good – subtly flavoured and complimenting everything else. Coriander and chillies were available to add as we saw fit and we’re yet to try the bread – although we're hopeful.
Rice & 3 for £4.50 is a good price and great value.

Qila Khyber impressed and intrigued us and we will be back for the bread and grills. In true curry cafe style they had a printed menu which bore no resemblance to the dishes on offer or prices available and were shown the hand written one above - which apparently changes daily.  One of the quirks that fans of these places really like and others find unprofessional and disconcerting. We like it.

Rice & 3 - from 2010
Key Ingredients 16 (out of 20)
Other Food 8 (out of 10)
Service/Setting 8 (out of 10)
Value for Money 4.5 (out of 5)
Range 4.5 (out of 5)
Average Rating 8.1 (out of 10)

Scores out of 10
Meat 7.5
Bread 8.0
Salad/Sauces 7.0
Service/Setting 8.0
Average 7.6

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  1. Oh that's it. You guys are now my favourite blog. I do love a scientific approach to life's important questions like 'which is the best curry house in Manchester?' It is a subject most worthy of your continued research.
    You'll never move me away from This n That though!

  2. Thanks Deanna - too kind! To be honest we've been itching for a return back there after a great trip a couple of weeks ago - trouble is if you stick to just one how do you find anywhere new? We're trying to do the hard miles for everyone - thankless task though it may be. Excellent work on the Pak Choi by the way.

  3. Someone give this guy a coloum in the Guardian, A.A Gill has got nothing on this chap. Whoever you are let me just say, strong work my friend. Such a concise yet comprehensive list of curry joints I have never seen before. I have lived in Manchester for over 10 years and sampled many curries across this fine city yet you have opened my eyes to a few gems that even I didn't know about. Being a young(ish) Asain male I know curry, not your Wilmslow Road swill but the real deal, just like Mama used to make it style curry and this list helps me get my fix. Keep up the good work my friend.

  4. That's one hell of a compliment - thanks you very much! We really appreciate it.

  5. I have ordered food from here before and the food has always been nice. However, i will never order from Qila Khyber again after tonight.
    We ordered delivery but they missed out 2 curries, a rice and sent another curry that we hadnt ordered, despite confirming the order 3 times with them. No probs, mistakes happen. However, when we rang to politely asked them to return with the correct order they said that they were only prepared to send us one curry and a rice as they are closed (it was 10am, they don't close until 11pm)and slammed the phone down. They never turned up and still owe us a refund.
    Fantastic customer service from the 'restaurant owner' that we spoke to. We only wanted what we ordered.

  6. Went there yesterday on this sites recommendation (19 Feb 2012)for a takeaway.Not as cheap as it is made out to be.2 Lamb curry's-very oily & watery sauce.2 Nan bread -Fresh but with the texture of rubber.Ordered a portion of onion & potato pakoras they were OK.Given free salad & dips.Cost £15.00 in all with No rice. Would not use it again.We will stick with the kabana, food a lot tasty-er & better value for your money.Yadger cafe over the road is good for Veg curries

  7. Just ate here after reading this post. I gotta say, worst curry I've had... ...ever. Pasty, tasteless and swimming in oil. Yuck. You have been warned

  8. Argh - that's bad news Simon, sorry to hear that.