[Ramsbottom, Greater Manchester] Sanmini
Ramsbottom’s about as far from home as you can get and still stay within the metro area. So, not wanting a big schlep only to find it full, we booked. And there was absolutely no need. To say Sanmini’s was quiet would be to underestimate the total lack of atmosphere that pervades a restaurant when you are the only people in it all evening.
What’s going on? Where was everyone? Was it Ramsbottom Wakes’ Week and everyone was in Scarborough or Seville?
Beats me. After all, it’s a nice room in a nice building. There’s a warm welcome. There’s a comfy bar area. There are comfy seats in the restaurant. There’s a short menu of southern Indian food – the guy telling us that everything is his mother’s recipe. It’s reasonably priced. It’s got a Good Food Guide Cooking 3. And there really is damn good food. And service is excellent – food being brought to you by one of the chefs. In short, it’s pretty much perfect.
A starter of “chilli chicken” did exactly what it said on the tin. Bite sized pieces of succulent chicken quickly and fiercely fried so the chilli and other spices baked on. A little shredded salad softened it. Deliciously punchy.
Masala dosai was a good a version as you’re likely to come across. Crisp, light and not overstuffed with the well spiced potato filling. Lentil sambar and coconut chutney were perfect for dunking.
As to mains, a chickpea and spinach curry was a star. Perfect balance between the two principal ingredients. Almost dry and with nothing aggressive in the spicing it contrasted well with a more robust lamb mince and potato dish. We were offered two versions of rice – a pilau and a delightful lemon one, heavy with citrus and with a zing from mustard seeds. Both were absolutely bang-on for taste and texture.
We passed on dessert but the menu did read well with everything being made on the premises. I bet the beetroot halva is a killer.