[Cheadle, Greater Manchester] Aamchi Mumbai

It’s a goodly number of months since we were last here. In the interim, there’s been changes. The restaurant manager, who was we understand a minority stakeholder in the business, is no longer there and the restaurant is being run by the majority partner. We may be being unjust but, on this experience, things are not an improvement. Now, I say “unjust” because the restaurant had taken a very large booking and may have become overstretched. But I can only comment on our actual experience and it’s the little things that stick in your mind. Little things like the food arriving but not the drinks (which had to be chased). Like the staff not being sure if we’d ordered. We had – both times we were asked. But the food remains absolutely cracking and, on that basis, I hope Aamchi Mumbai retains its place in the Good Food Guide.

There was sev puri to start for one of us. This is one of the dishes where the restaurant does quite elegant plating. There’s several small discs of crisp pastry, each topped with finely chopped tomato and onion, together with chutney and a final sprinkling of crunchy sev. Really nice. There’s no way they could make the other starter elegant. Samosa chaat just cries out to be messed about with and eaten with the spoon they provide. A veggie samosa, squashed and broken up a bit, topped with heavy drizzle of yoghurt and tamarind (?) chutney. It looks like the dog’s breakfast but, by heck, it tastes good.

I’ve said before that the lamb bhuna may be the best we’ve ever tasted and I’ve no reason to change my mind. The meat is delicious and the sauce is perfectly balanced in its spicing, with nothing overly aggressive . The only comment is that there was much more sauce than we recall from previous visits and this doesn’t improve the dish from the drier version. Plain rice was light and fluffy and the roti achieved the perfect balance between softness and crisp, slightly burnt, edges.

Across the table, there was a masala dosa. It’s another thing they do really well here. Crisp pancake, lightly spiced potato filling, a vegetable sambar that was pleasant enough for dunking. A coconut chutney didn’t really add much.

Apparently there are plans to add a few dishes, mainly vegetarian ones, to the relatively short menu. I reckon this is a good idea. We don’t come too often, as we’ve eaten most of the menu in visits since the restaurant’s opening night just three years ago. It’d just get a bit too samey if we did. But they need to make sure they don’t stray too far from the Mumbai “street food” roots. It’s what separates the restaurant from the various run of the mill curry houses in the area.

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I love samosa chaat. Had it quite a few times during my time in India. The sauce/chutney was usually tamarind. It looks a mess but tastes bloody lovely. Another thing I came across (only once, can’t recall where exactly) and have never seen in the UK was samosa masala. Same principle as samosa chaat but with a curry gravy rather than yoghurt. Tasty but prefer the yoghurt.

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

― Jonathan Gold