Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Al Nawaz, Manchester

Left a bad taste in my mouth- and that's before I read about its murky past!

Oh, the Curry Mile, street of delight and mystery. If, like myself, you're not a Mancunian and have little local knowledge, it's hard to know which are the best restaurants in the city and which are going to confine you to the bathroom for the weekend. It's rather like a game of Indian roulette! When choosing a restaurant, I try not to be taken in by bright Blackpool illuminations and eager touts forcing you in for custom like a Turkish bazaar, and base my decisions on a healthy balance of nice price, great quality and excellent service. However, last week I was blinded by the light and hindered by the inclement weather, so chose the nearest restaurant to our parking space, the Al-Nawaz.

The Al- Nawaz appears gloriously tacky from the outside, fluorescent lighting reminiscent of a Benidorm nightclub in 1984, but the real treat is the entrance. When you enter the hallowed portal, the focal point is actually the floor. It is glass and has fishtanks embedded into it with some glorious koi carp! What a treat! However, look past the fish and the restaurant is rather disappointing. The decor reminds me of a church hall and chav christenings, all long tables, stark walls, chipped paint and cheapo furniture. There is absolutely no atmosphere and has all the ambience of a job centre. Hopefully the food will spice things up....

To start, I feasted on popadoms and a huge chutney tray which were free- brilliant. This treat was let down by the incompetent staff, who, as they took away our dirty plates, they laid our dirty cutlery back down on the table- tight, lazy and dirty. This was a bad sign and set alarm bells ringing off- if they can't be bothered to provide clean cutlery, what the hell does the kitchen look like?! Also, the family next to us had just left, and their disposable tablecloth was wiped over with a j-cloth! HELLO! They are called disposable tablecloths for a reason, tightwads.

The meal arrived promptly and was actually quite pleasant. My vegetable madras was packed to the brim of beautiful fresh, succulent greens and was vindaloo hot, a single portion of Pilau was enough to feed two. The peshwari naan was filling and cakey and was a slightly different recipe to normal with a few glace cherries thrown in. Yum. However, as the restaurant was lacking in ambience, the meal wasn't really enjoyed- I just wanted to shovel it down and go next door to my beloved Treats. I felt like I'd gatecrashed a party and had to hurry out for some reason.

Upon leaving, I made my obligatory toilet assessment and my god were they filthy. To top it off, the mens bogs had 'gents' handwritten with marker pen on the door!

Sorry, Al Nawaz, you were distinctly average. And if I wanted to have a further excuse for not visiting, I read the below article. Cockroach kebab anyone?

THE boss of a restaurant on Manchester's 'curry mile' has been fined after a court heard it had been crawling with cockroaches.

Magistrates were told a public health inspector had found a 'well developed' infestation at the Al Nawaz restaurant on Wilmslow Road, in Rusholme, last summer.

The court was told that manager Gopal Dangol, 64, was ordered to shut it down after the inspection. He was fined £2,500 and restaurant owner Elite Chain Ltd was fined £12,500. The restaurant has since re-opened under new management.

The court heard that the inspector went there on July 24 last year after a customer made a complaint. Barbara Gora, prosecuting for Manchester council, said: "He saw live cockroaches running around the bar area, over shelving and on drinking glasses.

"Live cockroaches were also found around the washing up sink, under the coffee machine and over electrical equipment.

"A live cockroach was also found in a foil food container. There were also a number of dead cockroaches, which was indicative of a well-developed infestation."

Dangol, from Buxton Road, Stockport, and the firm had earlier pleaded guilty to five offences under food hygiene regulations.

Miss Gora said salad had been left next to raw meat in a fridge and the refrigeration units were in a poor state of repair. She said samosas and onion bhajis had been left out overnight at room temperature. Waste food and unclean kitchenware had also provided a source of food for the cockroaches. The waste bin was also full and overflowing.

She said: "The council prosecutes these matters because the public health is being put at risk. These defendants are clearly putting their profits before public health."

The court was told Dangol had a previous conviction for five food hygiene breaches while he was manager at the New Tabak restaurant on Wilmslow Road in 2007.

Barry Cuttle, defending, said Dangol had worked in restaurants as a waiter, a chef and a manager all his life. He said: "He's a family man. He hails from Nepal. He has worked very, very hard and very honestly and sincerely."

He said Dangol had already resigned from his job when the inspector visited but had 'copped a rocket' because he was still there while the firm waited to appoint a replacement manager.

He said the firm's pest controller fighting the infestation had needed access to the flats above the restaurant, but the residents often would not let them upstairs.

He said the restaurant was now under new management and he had been told by accountants that Elite Chain Ltd had ceased trading. Dangol was fined £500 for each offence - a total of £2,500. He was ordered to pay £1,124 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Elite Chain Ltd was fined £2,500 for each offence - a total of £12,500. The firm was ordered to pay costs of £1,124 plus a £15 surcharge.

Dangol was told by magistrate Catherine Feeney it was the worst breach of hygiene regulations she had seen in 30 years in the hospitality industry. She said: "Hygiene is important because people can become ill and die. You're in a very prominent position on Wilmslow Road and it's totally unacceptable."

(Copyright Manchester Evening News)

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