Makhani (left) and Daal Tarka
We’ve been waiting to come here for ages – mainly due to the South Indian speciality Dosas – not that they’re so amazingly fantastic, more because they’re different and indicate a different style of food from what we normally get in Manchester – ie the standard British versions of North Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi dishes. South Indian food is a different ball game, with different flavourings, less richness and less use of meat.
The interior is fantastic – a real old style place, dark and relatively quiet without the more modern Asian pop music, neon lights and TVs – a bit of a Del-Boy gone for a ‘Ruby’ vibe, without the flock wallpaper. For us this was a welcome change. The chap serving was very polite, calm and took his time – another addition to the relaxing vibe.
The initial perusal of the menu was a slight disappointment in that apart from the dosas and a very generic sounding ‘South Indian Vegetarian Delights’ section (or something similar) the menu was very much like all the others around.
I asked for recommendations and he reeled off the Makhani dishes and all their variations – again a bit of a shame to recommend a ‘base sauce’ dish with various blobs of meat chucked in. So two of us went for a Masala Dosa, Chops, Lamb Makhani and an Urid Daal dish.
The starters were great – the dosa and sambal (usually called sambar in South India) very authentic, with characteristic mustard seeds and curry leaves in the sambal and the dosa large, crisp and fresh. The chops were subtly flavoured and well cooked – not well done. After that the curries were a slight disappointment – the Makhani fine, but rather meagre and somehow failing to be the luxurious dish it should be. The lamb clearly wasn’t freshly grilled before being put in the sauce. The daal was tasty but a bit slimy due to being cooked too long and all the starch coming out. Though they were certainly edible and pleasant - even if the adjective 'slimey' is a bit off putting.
We liked it here and will return, it’s got something about it and maybe on a busy evening there’s a bit more pizzazz about the main courses – it was about 2pm and we were the only diners. Worth another shot – even just for the starters and the ambience.