[Cheadle, Greater Manchester] Hitchki

We weren’t able to try this newish opening before Covid intervened. We did, however, get a home delivery from them last autumn and, although the food was only OK, we did decide we’d try the actual restaurant when it felt safe to do so. Unlike most places we’ve been to since restrictions were removed, Hitchki hasn’t chosen to keep protections such as distanced tables or staff mask wearing. As for the menu, it majors on Indian street food. Now, that’s already a crowded market in this area – with Indian Tiffin Room and Aamchi Mumbai at the other end of Cheadle, and big hitters like Bramhall’s Bombay to Mumbai.

We ordered bhel puri as one of the starters. The one we had as home delivery had been mediocre but this was much better. There was the expected contrast in textures, with the rice nice and crisp. Spicing was good, with a perky sweet/sharp sauce. Samosa chaat was also a decent effort – the crisp pastry of the vegetable samosa contrasting nicely with the soft earthiness of the scattering of chickpeas. There’s a drizzle of yoghurt and another of tamarind (?) sauce.

For mains, aloo gobi is a regular order for us. We’ve had good ones and we’ve had not so good ones. This was somewhere in the middle. A clingy, almost dry, sauce (just as you hope) coated potatoes and slightly overcooked cauliflower but there’s good use of spices here. Chicken Kohlapuri was fine. More often it’s a vegetarian dish but, from time to time, you come across chicken or lamb versions. I’m not convinced they improve on the veggie version. It’s a complex dish which uses a wide range of spices and the chef has done well with the well-rounded masala. S/he has also managed to keep the chicken quite moist. We also took an order of tadka daal – really good (it was the thing we’d enjoyed most in the home delivery meal). Main courses come with a choice of either rice or plain naan. That’ll be one of each, please. And both were very good. Good bit of crispiness in the naan and the rice nice and fluffy.

As for service, well, it was a bit patchy. The place was quite busy, no doubt because of their current 20% discount offer. Drinks orders were taken quickly and they arrived soon after. But there was then a 20 minute finger-tapping delay before food orders were taken and another longer than expected wait for starters.

So, this was a decent enough meal and I’m glad we went but it doesn’t offer enough to tempt us away from our regular places of the likes of Bombay to Mumbai or West Didsbury’s Indique.

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Well, we’re back to weekly home delivery meals - it just doesnt feel safe to be going to restaurants just now. Experience has taught us not to have high expectations of the food from local restaurants that do home delivery and this was no exception.

Herself started with Vada pav – fairly boring version of the Mumbai classic, except for a quite pokey chutney on the salad . Followed by Lucknow Cashew Pepper – basically fried peppers and potato in a creamy sauce with a few cashews scattered.

Me – Amritsari Fish – chunks of lightly cooked white fish with a light dusting of very mild spice – again perked up by the pokey chutney mixed with the little bit of salad. Main course of Chicken Chettinad – unthrilling chicken curry (maybe because this is North Indians cooking South Indian food?)

We shared a roti and rice.

Everything was just OK. Nothing was offensive which is the best you can say.

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One of my most enduring memories of a Chettinad meal was during a trip to Chennai, India, back in 2015. I asked my local business associates to recommend a good Chettinad restaurant, and Raintree at the Taj Connemara was mentioned a few times. So, I went there one weekend. The food was good, though mind-blowingly spicy, as my local Tamil colleagues had warned me it would be.
My lunch platter:

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That’s a lovely looking thali, Peter.

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They do it better than any other place in Chennai. The restaurant itself is ravishing, sort of a bright, sunny conservatory-like glass dining room built around a majestic raintree in situ.

Only the service left something to be desired - wait-staff were nervous and wouldn’t exchange anything verbal with me beyond taking my orders. It’s still something cultural and inherent there: people who serve and people who are to be served are expected to behave accordingly.

We regularly go to a local Indian restaurant. The owner, Sandeep, always calls us Mr & Mrs Harters. We have asked him to use our first names but he declines saying that, in his culture, old people should be treated with respect.

I’m not sure as I was that keen on being described as “old”.

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And he really meant that in all earnestness. :joy:

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Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, Yuanyang County, Yunnan
Credit: inkelv1122, Flickr