[Bramhall, Greater Manchester] Bombay to Mumbai

It’s not often that, these days, we get to eat foods that are entirely new to us. So, it was with some genuine excitement that we accepted an invitation to visit the restaurant on the day it was launching a breakfast/brunch menu. It’s to be offered on Saturdays and Sundays from late morning until early afternoon. As far as I know, there’s nowhere else in the metro area offering such a menu. And it’s a short menu with just nine dishes which I suspect few customers will have come across before. Sandeep said to leave it to him to sort out the food as he wanted us to try a good range – in fact, I think we tasted all nine of them in one way or the other. And, before I go much further, let me say that every one was delicious. Most of the items were served as a thali (more of which in a bit). But, before that, three dishes that aren’t included in the thali.

Sindhi Dal Pakwan is a breakfast dish from Sandeep’s cultural background, originating from Sindh province in what is now Pakistan. Many of the Hindu Sindhi fled the province when India was partitioned in 1947, escaping the mass murders by the skin of their teeth. But, enough of the politics, let’s concentrate on what I think was my favourite dish. It’s lentils cooked until soft but still retaining a bit of bite. There’s spicing in here but it’s the sweetness from amchoor (dried mango powder) and citrus sharpness from tamarind that are the flavours coming through. On the side, there’s pakwan – a sort of thickish crisp puri. Load up the dal onto the pakwan for the contrast of crunch and soft. Just lovely.

There’s Anda Bhurji – spiced scrambled egg to you and me. Onion is cooked till it’s almost soft but, again, keeping a little crunch. Spices go in but this is a mild dish, so the spicing is very restrained. There’s tomato and the freshness from coriander and then the eggs go in to scramble, as does turmeric for colour as well as flavour. The eggs are scrambled till quite firm. It comes with a bread roll – so, here’s your opportunity to make your own Indian egg barmcake.

And then there’s Medu Vada, which were my partner’s favourite dish. That’s two doughnuts made with lentil flour and fried till the outside is crisp and the inside still moist and fluffy. It comes with a coconut chutney and vegetable sambhar (both the sort that you’re likely to have eaten alongside a masala dosa).

And then it was on to the thali. My understanding is that the word describes the multi-item nature of the dish – but also the tray on which it’s served. Sometimes, this is a round metal tray with little metal bowls, holding the separate items. But, here, it’s a multi-compartment metal tray – the sort that you see in prison movies being thrown at someone before it all kicks off. Let me try and remember everything. There’s a really poky chickpea curry. A potato mix, puri bhaji, similar to the filling for a masala dosa, very lightly spiced with mustard seeds. And more of the sambhar we had earlier. Kanda Poha is a traditional Mumbai breakfast item – a mild and comforting mix of rice, potato and onion – you can see how a plate of this would set you up for the day. And the final compartment holds puri (flaky flatbreads as light as you’d want), an idli, perfect for dunking in the sambhar and a crisp sabudana vada. The latter is made from sago and potato, formed into a disc and deep fried. It’s a popular snack in Mumbai where it’s often eaten on fasting days (Google informs me that some foods are permitted under Hindu fasting rules – Hindu’s a pragmatic religion).

Even if Bombay to Mumbai isn’t your favourite Indian restaurant in the area, you’ve really just got to go and give this a go. Order a selection of dishes to try or order the thali and let the kitchen decide for you.

(Disclaimer: We ate here at the restaurant’s invitation and expense. This is our favourite Indian restaurant in the area - one of a tiny minority actually owned by Indians - and we’d happily go back to eat from this menu as paying customers).