Sometimes, you find a restaurant that you enjoy so much, you have to go back again, to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. Readers will know of my passion for high quality Indian food. I could literally eat it every day. So on a few recent weekends in Manchester I decided to do a bit of research about a place I hadn’t eaten for years, the curry mile.
Wilmslow Road in Rusholme, a short £6 hop in an Uber from the city centre is home to numerous Indian eateries and has been feeding Mancunians into the wee hours for years. Last time I visited was about 15 years ago, in the days when the Shere Khan ruled the roost. It became apparent pretty quickly after a bit of googling that the current king of the mile was the Mughli. I had eaten in their Knutsford restaurant a few times with an old Uni pal, but never at the Rusholme restaurant. What an idiot!
The first visit was on a busy Saturday night. If you want in it is best you book folks. After a short wait for our table in the bar area we were seated and handed the menus. The words “Charcoal Pit” only fuelled the hunger. We skipped the poppadoms, given our attempt at a low carb lifestyle to save the daily allowance for bread.
I know it is probably getting boring but always start with the bhaji’s in a new restaurant! These were fantastic. Full of flavour with raita for dipping. I knew we had made a good choice of restaurant right away.
For mains, we went for the Chicken Tikka from the charcoal pit, the Kulchi curry (minced lamb and chicken tikka) and two vegetables sides.
The squeeze of lime took the taste of the Tikka off the charts. I need this marinade in my life. Juicy pieces of chicken with amazing flavour. We both agreed – this was the best Tikka we had eaten.
The curry was excellent. Full to the brim with meat and deep spicing will mean this will be a hard dish to look past on future visits. On the veg front I would probably say the aubergine edged it, but that is one of my favourite veggies cooked Indian style. A tandoori naan would be the carb treat of the weekend and it was light and fluffy and perfect for mopping up. We agreed that we might have found our north west Indian nirvana.
So roll forward a week and there’s only one place we’re going tonight! Let’s get straight into visit two. For starters this week we went for Pani Puri (on the far left below), the middle dish is Hakka Chilli Paneer and finally Chicken Tikka (which we had ordered as a main but came with starters, maybe specify how you want it when you visit).
The chicken tikka was as good as the week before. Just fantastic and really is the perfect example of the flavours you can get into this meat with the right marinade and some real flames. The Pani Puri were little mouthfuls of delight. They are to be eaten all in one, with the flavours of the potato chickpea chaat & tamarind exploding once bitten. The chilli paneer was well cooked and spiced with delicious peppers and onions.
Onto mains, and having eaten a main for starter, we were glad we hadn’t ordered anything more. Feeling bolder on the carbohydrate this week we went for puloa rice with browned onions and Peter’s bread with garlic, chilli and coriander.
Daal for vegetable and Lal Murgh for the curry. The daal was deep flavoured and satisfying and the curry had a good punch, but wasn’t overpowered by the spice. The bread was again pillow light with plenty of garlic. I don’t normally get excited about rice, but I could eat this rice on its own. Nutty flavours with the crispy onions makes the usual white rice with food colouring stuff, passed of in some places as puloa, really cannot hold a candle to this.
The search for curry heaven is over. Or has it just begun? When my cockney wife declares this food as good if not better than some of the London heavyweights, then I can assure you that it will be hard to be disappointed.
The next table is booked. See you soon Mughli!