Wednesday, 1 December 2010
Traditional but more than just a curry house!
The Curry Mile has its fair share of competition as far as the humble curry house is concerned, but for someone new to the city, where do you go? The process of elimination is the best method as follows:
1. Copious amounts of Googling to look for good reviews
2. A gentle drive/stroll down the Mile
3. A quick glance at the decor (I was in the mood for a traditional Indian, none of this nouvelle cuisine modern art rubbish)
4. A quick glance at its appearance (are there staff outside saying 'come to my beautiful curry house? Are there garish posters in the window? If yes, then it's usually rubbish. A restaurant should sell itself).
...and by this scientific method, I ended up in Sanam!
Sanam is one of Manchester's oldest restaurants and is more than just a curry house, for the entrance to the restaurant leads you through a beautiful confectioners, the sweet house. The Sweet House is a wonderland of exotic treats including kulfi to go, plus a display loaded with syrupy treats almost distracting you from the curry.
The restaurant is traditional with 70s/80s style velour booths, chintzy carpet and all the ingredients of a proper curry house apart from the booze that is. Sanam is a teetotal restaurant and booze in any form is prohibited here. Perfect. That means no chavs, stags or students! People in Sanam are people like me- going on a good night out at a restaurant purely to enjoy the food, conversation and the surroundings. A good sign as it means they won't scrimp on quality- I don't know if you've noticed, but a lout of restaurants get their customers tanked up and use it as an excuse to serve pig swill (yes Tippoo Sahib in Edinburgh, I mean YOU).
To start, I gorged on poppadoms and for the main event, I chose a veggie madras (pictured), basmati and a peshwari naan. I am such a creature of habit. The menu was brilliant for veggies as all the veggie dishes were boldly pinpointed.
WOW! A PARTY IN THE MOUTH! A FEAST FOR THE SENSES! This Madras was more of a vindaloo, packed to the brim with lots of shiny green chillies.The veg was fresh and chunky, the sauce tasted home made and prepared with care. The peshwari was unusual to my previous peshes as this one contained almonds and pistachios, beautifully complementing the coconut. Yum. I will definitely be back here.
Wait a moment, I wasn't finished there! I washed it down with a jug of freshly made strawberry lassi, silky and rich. At last, someone does an alternative to mango!
I didn't want to leave after such a fabulous experience and clearly, nor did the other diners, a friendly bunch of fellow foodies, who like me, understand that you don't need to drink to have a good time.