[Ladybarn, Manchester] Sanskruti - 2023 visit

In recent days, it’s been reported that India is likely to become the world’s most populous country within a few years. It reminds you just how diverse the country is in its food – affected both by geography and culture. And Sanskruti (the word translates from Hindi as “culture”) sets out to offer a diverse menu of traditional vegetarian and vegan dishes. We are omnivores, regularly eating vegetarian food and it’s always a pleasure to come here because the menu has dishes that you are not going to see on the menus of the Anglicised high street curry houses.

That said, there’s an increase in local places serving Mumbai street food dishes, so samosa chaat is something we’ve eaten before and we were interested to see how Sanskruti’s version compared with others. And the answer was that it compared very well. Crisp samosa, filled with spiced potato, was broken up and topped with chickpeas, onion, tomato and chilli, drizzled with yoghurt with a background flavour of sweet/sharp chutney. A vegetarian version of seekh kebab, made from vegetables and soya mince tasted pretty much like the traditional meat version but was quite dry in texture. It was OK, but not one to order again.

Both main courses were new to us. And kaju masala was a knockout. It’s a Punjabi cashew nut curry, so there’s texture from the nuts which is really nice. We usually prefer Indian dishes that don’t have a lot of sauce but this was very liquid. But it was absolutely delicious – made from tomato and onion, it was smooth and almost creamy but packed a punch from chilli. It mixed with the rice well and was perfect for scooping up with the tandoorti roti we’d also ordered. From the section of the menu featuring dishes from Gujarat and Rajasthan, there was Vegetable Jaipuri. It’s a dish with minimal sauce that clings to the mixed vegetables, which come lightly mashed together, with peas and green beans stirred through for a bit of contrast. The spicing is well rounded, with no single spice dominating– and there’s a tiny bit of background sweetness in there as well, for balance. It’s also really good.

So, as on previous visits, it was a pleasant evening, with really nice food, even though service is a tad perfunctory.

I don’t usually mention prices but this came in at a few pence under £50, including drinks and a 10% service charge. That also took account of the 20% discount that Sanskruti were offering for “Veganuary”.