[Bramhall, Greater Manchester] Bombay to Mumbai

This was our first meal out of the new year and I really couldn’t think of a better spot for it. There’s always a warm welcome and we’ve never had a duff dish here, let alone a duff meal.

We’d not tried ragada pattice before. It’s two smallish potato “croquettes”, surrounded by white chickpeas (ragada) mixed with a couple of sweet and tangy chutneys which nicely perk up the croquettes. Masala dosa was the other starter and it comes as a smaller version than you get in many places, so definitely starter size, leaving you room for a main course. It’s crisp, filled with lightly spiced potatoes, and served with a nice vegetable sambhar and a coconut chutney.

For main courses, one of us went with the lamb chamku which has proved to be a regular order for us here. We particularly like the fact it’s a dryish, clingy sauce enhanced with the earthy sweetness of beetroot. Chicken kolhapuri is another dish we’ve eaten before. The meat is moist and not over-cooked and the sauce is lovely – well rounded and with a serious chilli kick. They do a vegetable version and it’s a toss-up whether I prefer that or the chicken. Sandeep also brought us a sample of chicken fried rice to try. I assume it’s an Indo-Chinese dish – certainly looked like a Chinese fried rice but the spicing seemed 100% Indian. Really nice.

As ever, carbs were excellent. We shared a portion of fluffy pilau rice. One of us also had a tandoori roti which comes exactly as you want it – soft but with the odd crispy bit round the edges. And one of us had the chilli and onion kulcha which has a nice “edge” to the flavour over a more classic naan.

Now, if everywhere else we go this year feeds us as well as B2M, then it’ll be a cracker of a year.


Wonderful start to your new year, indeed, John!

BTW, I had a miniscule masala dosa during a visit to Gymkhana in London a few years back - I was absolutely scandalised!
Now this is how the size of a masala thosai should be. I got this from Thohirah restaurant on Jalan Kayu, 5 minutes’ drive from our home in Seletar Hills, Singapore.


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Hah! Now, that is a masala dosa.

This one wasnt tiny - maybe 20cm across. But I did see tiny ones on an Indian buffet in London the other week - they actually looked quite cute.

By the by, I was thinking of you only last night, whie watching a new food series on TV. British Chinese guy called Gok Wan, who is better known as a fashion “expert” but has done one cooking series a few years back. This new series sees him visit Chinese communities round the world to see how local influences have effected traditional Chinese cuisine. Watched two shows last night - first in Barcelona, second in Malaysia. Nice programmes - he eats a bit, chats to locals a bit, cooks a bit. I felt quite a lot of the Malaysia stuff was pretty familiar to me through your posts.

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To more good eats in 2020, John! :grin::+1:

BTW, I’ll be going to Mumbai for a holiday this May, my first time back there in more than a decade! We’re hoping to cover a few of the city’s Parsi cafes:

That should be interesting, Peter. The restaurant had a “Parsi week” last year but we missed it. Sandeep’s business partner is Iranian so had something of an interest.

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We were back at Bombay to Mumbai last night and Sandeep said they were thinking of running Parsi week again and we’ll certainly go if we can. I’ll report back.

But, in the meantime, I’m struggling to know what to write here. We’ve enjoyed so many good meals at B2M, writing about most of them, that it’s really hard to think of anything new to say. I could write again about the warm welcome and the complete sense of hospitality. I could write again about the menu – a world away from the Anglicised food of the high street curry houses. I could tell you again about the actual food – we’ve eaten most things on the menu over time. So what to do?

Well, I better tell you a bit about the food again (there were three of us, but I’ll only mention the food my partner & I ate). Well, actually I’ll let the menu tell you about the food again, as it really doesn’t need more praise from me. Sev puri – “crisp pastry topped with chaat salad and chutneys”. Masala dosa – “crispy Indian pancake packed with mashed masala potatoes”. The latter comes with a lovely vegetable sambhar and coconut chutney.

For mains, there was lamb chamku – “medium spiced semi-dry curry cooked with garlic and beetroot chutney”. And vegetable Kohlapuri – “assorted mixed vegetables cooked in fiery Kohlapuri chutney”. As Sandeep told us, the city of Kohlapur (over 200 miles from Mumbai), is well known for its use of chilli in its local cuisine. We shared pilau rice and an onion kulcha.

After that spice, I needed a dessert to cool it down, something I rarely order in Indian restaurants. Donya guessed I would order the homemade kulfi falooda. And she was right. Kulfi and falooda are more usually seen as separate desserts but B2M brings them together – “cream & pistachio ice cream, the Mumbai version of a knickerbocker”.

Due to Omicron, this was our first meal out since mid-December. With so much Covid around, still causing large numbers of deaths each day, it’s still scary if you’re clinically vulnerable, so we wanted to make sure that this first meal would be a success. It was. .


It was only a month ago that we last ate here and, in the normal course of events, I wouldn’t consider writing another review so soon after, However, last time, Sandeep told us there was going to be a special menu this week so we went along to try it. I’ll get to the details in a minute. And I’m writing another review because the quality of the food, even by B2M’s usual high standards, was just outstanding. And I mean, really outstanding. The restaurant food, of any cuisine, that we’ve most enjoyed in many a month. Yes, that good.

Mumbai is home to a large community of Parsis – originally Zorastrians who have migrated from Persia/Iran over the centuries. The spring solstice is the historic time of the community’s New Year and the short special menu represents several of their distinct dishes. You’re most unlikely to find these dishes (or traditional versions of them) in the high street curry houses. So, it was going to be a treat to eat something completely new for us.

There were three starters and we tried all of them. Akuri is a Parsi breakfast dish – scrambled eggs on toast if you will. There’s onion in there, a little bit of chilli and maybe a touch of turmeric to help the colour along. Two thick slices of toast to load it on to. Patra Ni Machchi was a very generously sized fish dish. The fillets are marinated in a spiced coconut and coriander mix, then wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed. Very light and delicate. And, for the third, a version of lamb keema pav as served in Mumbai’s Irani cafes – traditional eateries for the Parsi community. Sandeep told us that he had ensured his chef stuck to the traditional. I’ve eaten keema elsewhere before but, without doubt, this was the finest version I’ve ever tasted. Long cooked and very rich mince, well flavoured with cardamom, dill and an assertive use of chilli. And, to put a touch of restaurant refinement to the dish, the accompanying bread is not the usual basic roll, but small chunks of it toasted – perfect for scooping up.

There was lamb for one of us as a main - salli boti. It’s a celebratory dish in the Parsi community and rightly so. Another richly flavoured sauce, with fork tender lamb chunks. The “salli” refers to the topping of crispy potato matchsticks which we were urged to stir through the dish so you get the texture contrast. Dhansak is probably the west’s best known Parsi dish but, unfortunately, many of us will have only tasted the Anglicised curry house version. I’ve eaten a “proper” dhansak at a Parsi owned restaurant in London, where the owner told me that it has as much family significance to them as a Sunday Roast does to Brits. And B2M’s chicken version was an absolute treat. Three different sorts of lentils long cooked along with vegetables until they become a thick sauce. The long cooking had made it almost creamy and there’s a slightly sweet & sour edge to it, with just enough chilli so that you know it’s making a contribution. It’s a sauce that I’d happily have eaten without any protein but the chicken chunks were nice and still moist. For carbs we had rice and a kulcha, which is pretty much our standard order here.

Only one of us wanted dessert - a Parsi version of kulfi, using Iranian saffron for a delicate flavour and colour. Like previous dishes, this was particularly rich with condensed milk (?). It was straight out of the freezer and would have tasted even better if I’d left it to defrost a bit. But it was pretty good anyway.

Much as I’d love to see some of these dishes on the regular menu, I understand Sandeep’s reluctance to do so, as he needs to keep them for Parsi Week. It had been a lovely evening with absolutely top notch food. And, as ever here, the evening was the very essence of hospitality. I suppose the only disappointment was to see how quiet it was that night.


All sounded sublime!

Your meal reminded me so much of the 2012 Parsi Chowdown organized by Howler at the Bombay Brasserie in London.

The continuing story of meals at B2M:

There’s a number of local restaurants that, over a year, we visit on a fairly regular basis, and B2M is probably the one we come back to most often. So, even though it was only last month when we were here, we knew they had refreshed the menu and we were keen to try some new dishes. Of course, any refreshing means some old favourites are going to go – so bye bye, lamb chamku, maybe we’ll see you again some time.

So, we ordered our starters and mains. But the first thing we got to eat wasn’t one of them. Sandeep brought us another new dish to try first. This was Meri Masala Maggi. You might say it’s India’s answer to pot noodles. Noodles, veg, lots of spice. A “much loved junk food”, as the menu has it. Unlike actual pot noodles, this needs some cooking – ask Sandeep to tell you how he managed to prepare it for himself when he was a student living in a college hostel. And, like most junk food, this is absolutely delicious.

Hara Bhara kebabs come from the north of India. They look a bit like Middle Eastern falafel and have a similar texture. But the flavours are complex – spinach, whole peas and potato, fried in a crisp coating. And there’s a lovely, sharp (tamarind?) sauce for dunking. Chicken Simmba was another new dish. Chunks of still moist chicken, tossed with, I think, spiced flour and fried. And to perk it up further, a chutney using fiery Kashmiri chilli. Simmba, though? I had to Google and presume B2M names it after the Bollywood film of that name. I read the film’s plot and it’s a good name for the dish – edgy and a bit of a surprise. Great starter.

For mains, we ordered very similar lamb dishes. Both in bhuna style. One, the traditional bhuna that’s long been on the menu. It’s a rich, well rounded, clingy sauce, a world away from the curry house version. And, by way of slight contrast, Sindhi Seyal, a version from the area, now in Pakistan, from where Sandeep’s family originate. With this, the meat is marinated in yoghurt, so there’s a little background twang to the flavour which I really liked. For carbs, we shared pilau rice and a roti.

And, so we paid, put our coats on and we just on our way out, when Sandeep brought us a new dessert to try. Well, we just had to sit down again. It’s crisp mini samosas, filled with white chocolate and flavoured with cinnamon, alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It’s light, not too sweet, and a perfect ending to an Indian meal.

B2M just seems to get better and better and, deservedly, earns its place in the Good Food Guide. Established in 1951 and now available online, it records the best in British dining, with its mention of around 1000 restaurants, of which only 20 are in Greater Manchester. The restaurant’s next move is to offer tasting menus on alternate Sundays, featuring different regional foods. They’ve already done one from Goa and the next is Punjabi food. We hope to be back for that one.


My goodness! I’d seen Maggi instant noodles in various flavours sold in provision shops/grocery stores in Mumbai and Delhi before. Very brave for B2M to introduce it as part of its restaurant offerings!

Very brave indeed. I’m saying nothing about it outside of this thread. But I suspect I will not be the only diner to realise that you can buy a pack of the noodles in the local supermarket for £0.55. All the restaurant needs to do is add a few chopped vegetables. And stick a price ticket on the dish for £5.95.

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We’ve been back

We’ve eaten a fair few meals at B2M over the years but not one like this. They’ve started to have periodic “tasting menu” evenings. Now, no choice multi-course tasting menus are a feature of high end restaurants these days. I’ve even eaten an Indian one before - at a Michelin starred restaurant in London. But, it’s an ambitious move for a neighbourhood restaurant like B2M. You’re putting yourself entirely in the hands of the restaurant for your dinner. Will you enjoy the food? Will you have even heard of the dishes on the menu? Will you have to get a bag of chips on the way home because you didn’t like it? Will it be good value for money?

We missed their first evening – a Taste of Goa – and were really looking forward to a Taste of Punjab. And, to answer my own questions. Yes, we enjoyed everything – it was really, really good. No, we’d not heard of most of the dishes. No, we didn’t need a bag of chips. Yes, at £29.95, it was thoroughly good value for money.

We ate:

Palak aur Shalgam ka Shorba – soup served in a coffee cup. It’s got an earthy savouriness from turnip and bottle gourd. Great colour from spinach. And a wake-you-up hit from spice.

Paratha – flatbread stuffed with potato, which may have been the best bread we’ve eaten at B2M (although their onion kulcha is a contender). Alongside, another coffee cup, filled with lassi, spiked with cardamom and chopped pistachio

Bhatti da murgh – a Punjabi version of chicken tikka, Marinated in yoghurt and cooked with freshly ground spices, it’s moist and absolutely delicious. Even my partner, who isn’t a big fan of chicken and never orders it in a restaurant, left a clean plate.

Dahi Bhalla – a lentil fritter served cold in yoghurt, so it softens, and topped with a zingy chutney. It works as an excellent palate cleanser before moving on to……

Amritsari Macchi – the city’s take on a fish finger. B2M uses coley which is marinated and given a thick coating of gram flour batter before being deep fried. This is lovely – even the crisp coating is tasty in itself

Then there’s a thali, served on the traditional metal tray with its individual compartments. There’s roti and rice for carbs. And three more North Indian classic curries. Aloo gobi – potatoes and cauliflower cut quite small with the addition of peas. Murgh Makhani – probably the traditional dish on which chicken tikka masala is based. And another dish from the Sikh city of Amritsar – Langar wali dal – a simple lentil dish which, apparently, is often served to worshippers at Sikh temples.

And, finally, Gajrela – a halva made from carrots, milk, dried fruit and nuts. Think carrot cake for texture but not too sweet. A really nice ending to a fine meal.

One of the great things about a tasting menu is that you get to eat and enjoy things you probably wouldn’t have ordered from a normal menu. Next up, B2M plans a “Taste of Gujarat” in the New Year. I’m looking forward to that. And Sandeep told us he’s thinking of another evening, featuring dishes his wife makes for the family. Maybe he’ll call it a “Taste of Home”. We’ll be there whatever it’s called.

The food here is always good but there’s a definite sense that they are moving up a notch. That’s recognised not least by B2M’s inclusion in the well respected Good Food Guide 2023, putting it amongst the country’s top 800 or so restaurants.


We’ve been back again - for their Taste of Gujarat evening. Absolutely delish. Sandeep was very proud of this one - he, rather than the chef, had made most of the dishes (under the supervision, by phone, of his wife who is Gujarati). Here’s the menu


Been back again (and there’s a new accolade for B2M - see end of review)

We’d been away for a week and just didn’t feel like cooking dinner just yet. So, we rocked up at B2M, without a reservation, in the hope that Sandeep could find us a table. He could – it was 7.30 so still quiet but it filled up nicely for a midweek later on.

There was bhel puri and masala dosa to start. Both of them good examples and old favourites of ours. The former zingy with tamarind (?) chutney and ultra crisp from the inclusion of Bombay mix. The latter also crisp, with lightly spiced potatoes and excellent sambhar and coconut chutney.

A new addition to the main courses is aloo gobi – my partner’s favourite vegetarian Indian dish. You’ll see this on the menu of virtually every curry house and it’s not usually very good. But go to a restaurant in the area where the owner is actually Indian and you’ll find a top quality meal – quite dry, with the sauce just clinging to the potato and cauliflower which are both cooked through but retaining a little bite. Sindhi Seyel is a traditional lamb or chicken dish, also fairly new to the menu. It’s very similar to a bhuna but including yoghurt which gives it a little sour tang in the background. It’s a dish close to Sandeep’s heart. Sindh, now in Pakistan, is his family’s ancestral home and they had to flee for their lives at partition in 1948, finding refuge in Bombay. So, it’s a plate of food with history as well as great flavour. We shared rice and a roti.

As always, Sandeep was the very essence of hospitality and he was assisted by two members of staff, both with a ready smile, and doing what they do really well. That’s all gone to contribute to the restaurant being included as one of only 15 restaurants in northwest England to be included in the list of Best Local Restaurants by the Good Food Guide. Yes, it’s that good.


It all sounds delicious and it’s clear how much you enjoy your evenings there!