Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton.
Great place, great food, great night, great price - just go!
The starters were all pretty standard looking, Haleem, Dolmeh, Falafel, Kofteh, Houmous etc. However they were served in a very different style. Unlike the Pakistani version the Haleem had no grain in it, just lamb, aubergine and lentils – mashed together with crisp fried onions and garlic. It was delicious – browned garlic can be an acquired taste but once you realise it’s on-purpose it becomes essential. The Kofteh was wrapped round a plum and served with plum sauce – unexpected and genius, just what I was hoping for from a more upmarket jaunt than usual. The Falafel was crisp and nice, but pretty much as you’d expect - or at least want. All the starters were under £4 and came with a basket of flatbread, which was also excellent, though soft and chewy, not charred and crisp as some prefer.
On our usual outings to low key Middle Eastern establishments I tend to go for the kebabs - there’s a reason for this – they’re cheap, usually very good and I don’t think that more upmarket places do them any better. How can something so simple, so long as done correctly, be improved upon? In my view the improvements never justify the price doubling. I would have liked to try the grilled food as a point of comparison but all of us present went for 'Traditional Stews'. I had Baghali Polo – ‘lamb shank in rich sauce accompanied by broad bean and dill rice’ (pictured). This was the absolute business – excellent, tender lamb, fantastic rice and salad – the dill and beans in the rice are a real master-stroke. Two other lamb dishes were Ghaimeh Bademjan (lamb, aubergine, split peas and cinnamon) and Ghormeh Sabzi (lamb, dried limes, kidney beans and herbs) – both diners were very happy, though I didn't think they were as good, being a tad indestinct. One real standout dish (like I’ve never tasted before) was Fesenjan – chicken in a thick walnut and pomegranate sauce. Full-on Middle Eastern luxury. Too much luxury for me in fact – though if you’re the sort to go for creamy curries you may love it. All the stews came with large plates of excellent rice (the Persians pride themselves on it) and decent salad. All stews were under £10. We had a great time. The service was excellent - prompt and friendly but not annoying. And the BYOB and very reasonable pricing policies make it great value too. Best of its type. We’ll be back