[Rusholme, Manchester] Punjab Tandoori
Over the last couple of years, there’s been a massive change to the Curry Mile. Where once there were getting on for fifty Indian restaurants, now not many more than a dozen remain. In their place, middle eastern takeaways with a few tables for eating in and several shisha bars – all of them busy, even on a midweek evening. Perhaps it won’t be long before the Curry Mile title is dropped in favour of the Kebab Mile.
Some things don’t change, however. One is the slow service at the Punjab Tandoori and the other is the fairly extensive listing of vegetarian dishes on the menu that goes far beyond the offerings of the “any protein with any sauce” curry houses.
There was a masala dosa to start. Big, with a lovely crisp texture, and a filling of carefully spiced potato. Alongside a dish of coconut chutney and another of a quite watery bland sambar which actually worked surprisingly well.
Papri chaat tasted much better than it looked. It was all a bit too wet, although the yoghurt/tamarind mix was bang-on for flavour. Underneath still crisp pastry, some potato, onion and the occasional chickpea. All nice enough but I’ve eaten better.
Potato figured in my main course of aloo gobi. It, and the cauliflower, were cooked through but retaining a little bite that prevented it turning into invalid food. Good spicing here with little shreds of ginger perking it up no end. Nice to have a main that wasn’t drowned in gloopy sauce.
The other main was a tinda massala. Pumpkin again having a little bite. Quite a lot of sauce here but it was well made with coriander and chilli coming to the fore.
We ate it with roti and naan. It’s a couple of years since we were last here and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s another long stretch before we’re back. Of course, by then it may be serving sharwama and kibbeh.
I think I'd go for Mughli, simply because it's different. Leaving aside the veggie offerings of the Punjab Tandoori, the "Mile" is very much high street curry house fare, in the way that Brick Lane in London is.
Got a reason for asking, klyeoh? Not visiting the Rainy City are you?
Well, there's a protracted discussion going on in a Singapore food forum (somewhat similar to Chowhound, but with mainly Singaporean posters, living inside and outside Singapore - and happens to include one living in Manchester). It's just that the photos she posted on the "best curries" she had from the Curry Mile didn't look exactly too appealing, so I'm wondering if she's been going to the wrong places. It got me curious about what a native Mancunian would consider the best option on the Curry Mile.
I wish I can visit Manchester (or even the UK) in the near future, but my next couple of business trips are taking me to Pakistan and Uzbekistan instead :-(