[Ashton under Lyne] Lily's Vegetarian Indian Cafe

We’d forgotten just how good the bhel puri is at Lily’s – probably the best we’ve eaten anywhere. Which may be a surprise to folk when they think it’s only a café with a few tables tacked on to an Indian supermarket. There’s crunch from sev noodles, there’s potato, peanuts and tomato, there’s sharp from tamarind (?) and a kick from chilli

And it’s not just one dish that’s a belter. Fear not, the quality continues. Raj kachori was a new one for us. As best I can work out, dough is formed into a ball, a hole made into which a filling of veg and spices goes. It’s then rolled out into a disc and fried to crispy. It’s topped with drizzles of yoghurt and chutney.

For mains, we both went with mixed vegetable curries. One is a good mix of veg, some retaining a little bite, others soft, with a quite mellow, well rounded sauce. The other version, from Jaipur, included grated paneer, and a sauce which was more poky from chilli. Excellent stuff – we two omnivores didnt miss the meat for one minute. We shared rice and chapattis.

I’ve seen the food at Lily’s referred to as “authentic”. Well, neither of us are Gujarati, or even Indian, so have no idea whether it’s authentic or not. Nor do we care. We do care that food is tasty and well cooked. – and it most certainly is.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold