[Bramhall, Greater Manchester] Bombay to Mumbai

The restaurant has a firm place on our list of restaurants we visit fairly regularly. We caught them on a very quiet night this week which meant there was little atmosphere. On the other hand, it meant Donya had time to chat – and we agree that there doesn’t seem to be any really good Thai restaurants around (although I claim no great experience). And I will take up her suggestion to cook a Persian biryani at home!

As for the food it was, as always, really good. We started with mini-pappads, topped with a dice of onion and tomato and served with three chutneys and a raita. Single mouthfuls of loveliness – a much nicer presentation than the big poppadums you get in most places.

Masala dosa is an excellent starter here – crisp pancake with a lightly spiced potato filling, along with the traditional accompaniments of sambhar and coconut chutney. We’ve never really delved into the Indo-Chinese part of the menu. There’s long been a Chinese community in India, particularly in Kolkata and Mumbai, and their cooking has adapted to local tastes, just as in the UK, Chinese food has become Anglicised. So, you get an interesting fusion which we’ve been wanting to try for a while. “Sheikh chilli kebab” seemed a good way to start. Unlike the classic sausage shaped seekh kebab, this is served in chunks, along with peppers and onions, very much like a Chinese stirfry, finished with sliced spring onions. There’s a little, very savoury, sauce. Now, we couldn’t really detect anything obviously Chinese in the flavourings – but that’s probably down to the skill of the chef in blending everything together. It does come with a very nice serious whack from chilli. Oh, and it does get served up on an interesting “plate” – I won’t spoil the surprise by mentioning it (and Donya did tell us that she and Sandeep are planning other different presentations, which should add a bit of fun to dinner).

And, speaking of new things to try, the menu has been tweaked slightly since we last had dinner here. A new dish is Lai Bhari. It came with chicken (lamb is also available) in a quite creamy sauce, including finely chopped peanuts. It’s a mild dish, jaggery giving a bit of sweetness. I think there was tamarind in there as well (and I think it would benefit from more to contrast with the sweetness). A really enjoyable dish which seemed quite different from your usual South Asian dishes.

Lamb bhuna is one of the few dishes that you’d recognise from the menu of a bog standard curry house. But this is a world away from the curry house version. We always used to say that the lamb bhuna at Sandeep’s previous restaurant was the best we’d ever tasted. But the BtM version is even better. The lamb is “falling apart soft”. Tasty in its own right and enhanced by a little really well flavoured, very clingy sauce. Yes, there’s chilli in there, and garlic – but the chef’s mix of spices is made so well that nothing dominates (I think we made out coriander but couldn’t identify anything else).

Carbs were as good as everything else. Nice fluffy pilau rice and chilli and onion kulcha (which could have done with a bit more chilli for me, but the little crunch from the onion was nice).

We remain determined to try desserts here. But, once again, we were full by this time and had to pass.


It was only last month when we ate here and I wouldn’t usually consider writing a review so soon after, but we had such a nice evening that I thought it warranted it.

B2M is such a hospitable place and, as always, there was a warm welcome from Donya and Sandeep. There were mini-pappadums to start – single bites, topped with tomato, onion and chilli and a range of four chutneys to drizzle over. For starters proper, there was bhel puri for one of us. It really is everything you want from the dish – crisp, soft, sweet, sharp, hot. It’s a starter we often order in different places but I think this is the best we’ve tasted. Medu vada also appears on their breakfast menu and it was when we came for that a few weeks back that we first tried it. It’s a comforting dish that would certainly set you up for the day. And it works well as a dinner starter – two doughnuts made from lentil flour, fried to crisp on the outside but still soft on the inside. It comes with a lovely vegetable sambhar and coconut chutney.

For main courses, we both went with lamb chamku. It’s a great dish – a world away from the offerings of the many high street curry houses. There’s meltingly soft, delicious lamb – you could, literally, break it apart with a fork. But it’s the very clingly, semi-dry, beetroot and garlic sauce that is the star – rich and with the sweet earthiness you’ll always get with beetroot. I’d happily eat a version of it as a vegetarian dish. And we also shared a portion of pahadi daal – Google tells me the Pahadis come from the area of India around the Himalayas. It has a similarity to daal makhani but, without the cream, is not as rich and, as such, was more to our tastes.

Donya also brought us a couple of comp’d dishes to try, both of them from the Indo-Chinese part of the menu and which are true to Mumbai cuisine. There was chilli chicken. Big chunks of chicken, perhaps a tad overcooked and dry, but tasted fantastic. And spicy, veggie stirfried noodles which definitely seemed much more Chinese than Indian.

Carbs were excellent, as they always are here. Fluffy rice and a tandoori roti that was just as you hope it will be – crisp in parts, soft in others.

For ages, I’ve been promising myself that I’ll try one of the desserts but have always felt too full. But not this visit. I decided I must force one down – although you know there was absolutely no forcing going on. I choose kulfi falooda. Now, I’ve had kulfi before and I’ve had falooda before but never together. And it’s a great combo. The ice cream of the kulfi matching well with the sweetened milk (?) and vermicelli of the falooda.

This really is everything you want from a neighbourhood restaurant, regardless of cuisine – good food, reasonably priced and attentive service from folk who want to ensure you have a good time.


Sounded like they served you two of the best-known Sino-Ludhianvi dishes: the Chicken Manchurian and the Hakka noodles.

My first taste of Sino-Ludhianvi cuisine was back in 1992 when I was an accountant with Singapore Airlines, and I was sent to New Delhi to do a financial audit of the SIA office there. My Delhi colleagues took me to a "Chinese " restaurant which served these dishes, none of which I’d ever seen in Singapore, and which I later learnt was localised Indian-Chinese dishes which first came about in Calcutta (where there is a tiny Chinese community), but has now become a regional cuisine unto its own in India.

Thanks for that, Peter.

Now you mention it, I’m pretty sure Chicken Manchurian was on the menu of the owner’s previous restaurant, although I never ordered it, so can’t be certain, but your suggestion makes perfect sense.

Next visit, I’ll try an impress him with my new found expertise. :grinning:

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An acquaintance wrote an article for the Eater website about the desi-chinese restaurants in London. While the specific recommendations obviously won’t be particularly useful to a northerner, the article does have a bit of interesting history and examples of dishes, so I will attach the link below.

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Thanks, mate. An interesting article which actually does give me an idea. The restaurant has a shortish menu and, as ever in those cases, you can run out of new things you fancy eating. I’ve been toying with the idea of suggesting to the owner that he tries having a monthly “special” and the Indo-Chinese route seems an ideal way to go (not least as I know Sandeep enjoys those offerings himself).

Wow, the extensive list is certainly a testament to the presence of a huge Indian diaspora in London nowadays. Until as recent as decade or so ago, one struggles to find Desi-Chinese food anywhere in the world outside India.

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