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Jul 16, 2013 02:11 PM

[Manchester, city centre] EastzEast

It’s a long, long while since I waxed lyrical about EastzEast. So, please, permit me a full waxing.

In essence, I rate this as one of the top three South Asian restaurants in the metro area. Maybe even the best. Here’s the evidence summary. There’s a good room, light, bright and with good air conditioning and comfy seating. There’s great service – someone is always around when you need something. And the food is just bloody great.

I’m a bit of a kebab fan – well, I am a man and northern, so they are almost as hard-wired into the genes as meat pies and black puddings. You go to Indian restaurants and sometimes your seekh kebab is good, sometimes not so good. Here, it is better than good. And they do a chicken version which is what I ordered tonight. Very zingy, meat not overcooked, a little salad, a little mint raita. What more do you want?

Opposite, my companion in life was turning into Veggie Vera as she often does in asian restaurants. It means she often gets the better of the picks. And did so with her starter. Chana puri was a star dish. One that would have happily done as a main course, if in a bigger portion. A crisp puri, topped with a goodly serving of chickpeas cooked in a quite spicy masala sauce. It’s the sort of dish that might well convince dedicated omnivores to eat more veggie dishes.

She followed that with aloo gobi. Good spicing here although the balance between potato and cauliflower might have been improved in favour of more cauli. In the high street curry house, it can be a sloppy, rather unsuccessful dish but here texture was retained and there was quite dry saucing.

I went with lamb karela, from the Desi section of the menu. And it was another belter – a classic of Punjabi cooking, so the kitchen was on solid ground here. I’ve eaten the dish at Mumtaz in Bradford where they claim it as Kashmiri, and where the flavour of the bitter gourd is more pronounced. Here, it was very much a slight background flavouring, overshadowed by a powerful hit from coriander and chilli. I think I preferred it to the Yorkshire preparation – although I’m not sure.

Rice was lovely and fluffy; tandoori roti were crisp. So carbs just as you want them to be. In fact, pretty much everything was just as you wanted it to be.

Worthy of note, is that they now offer free parking on the car park that used to be the BBC place. Which is something of a saving on the four quid it cost for two hours on the NCP.

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  1. That's really good to hear. I kind of wish that I'd given this place a go when we were down last but I won't complain about the Chinese that we had instead.

    There is a good Kurdish/Iranian place in Edinburgh that does fantastic kebabs as a main course. Different cuisine but similar influences.

    1. We tried out the Liverpool branch at the weekend. It's in the Docks, just by the ferris wheel. Nice spacious room, and the other guests were in their Scouse splendour, including some skirts which actually fell to just above the knee! Miaow...

      We chickened out of the family naan, which is table top sized and comes suspended on a small tree, and had poppadums with an unusually wide array of pickles, including a moreish tamarind one, and some fine paratha.

      Starters were fish pakora, which were really fillets of fish in a spicy batter, no padding, lovely, sort of Punjab fish fingers, and then lamb boti which were exceptionally tender chunks that had been char grilled.

      I then had the Nihari which was a slow cooked lamb shank in a flavoursome gravy, and himself a passable rogan josh, with sag aloo.

      All a cut above standard fare, and I look forward to trying some of the other Desi specialities, including Harters' bitter gourd dish...and lamb brains anyone? Trotters?

      Free parking if you give them your NCP receipt, and the laydeez get a complimentary red rose ;)