Wilmslow Rd. Rusholme
Wanasah is one of the new breed of standard Rusholme 'hang-outs' - and I mean hang-outs as that's what people do there, seemingly all day, drinking little cups of sweet tea and smoking shisha pipes. However that world offers little to the likes of me - until, of course, I see two huge masses of rotating (real) meat and the magic word - 'shawarma'.
For those who don't know, shawarma is Arabic for the Turkish Doner, but in the UK at least this has come to mean a bit more than a like for like translation - at best it means the difference between in-house made, marinaded slices of lamb, stacked on to a spit, slow roasted till dripping, juicy and just a bit crispy on the outside - and frozen elephant's foot bought from a factory and warmed up. Processed Doners are what have (wrongly) given kebabs as a whole a bad image in Britain, where as Sharwarmas are an ancient and delicious dish, far removed from the fast-food, after pub, stereo type ........I digress. (Incidentally not all Turkish places sell factory bought, perfectly shaped, processed stuff either - so this distinction is a tricky one - but in non-Turkish places the use of the word Shawarma instead of Doner is usually the indicator)
Wanasah does both lamb and chicken sharwarma for a mere £2.50, with fresh clay-oven bread (or tandoor naan, if you prefer). This is a steal. In an interesting twist I think it was my first kebab+gherkin experience too, which actually cut through the fatty lamb nicely. The lamb itself was delicious and tender and not over-powered with additional flavourings. Fresh clay oven bread is always a winner - no need to go into that really - suffice to say it's infinitely superior to freshly unwrapped and warmed up bread.
The place was fine, if a bit modern for my taste - big TV etc (but I say this all the time). It was a hot day and we sat out in the sun, with the exotic smell of the shisha and loud Arabian music it was a little like being on holiday, though I'm not sure where.
The service was pretty quick, the guy didn't ask us to specify which salad or sauces we wanted but I'm sure we could have. He didn't put on any chilli - so I went up and was treated to one of the best fresh chilli sauces I've had in a while. If you're up for this sort of food (with the usual suspects accompanying - humous, falafel etc) I'd recommend Wanasah. If you want kobeda or tikka or whatever then probably not.... You've got brains, so I'll leave that decision to you.