[Manchester, city centre] Akbar's

We hadn’t planned to eat here but the city centre was seriously gridlocked and it would have taken forever to drive from one side to the other for the restaurant we’d booked. So, we parked up. And, still cursing, made our way down Liverpool Road. It’s a while since we ate at Akbar’s but it’s always reliable.

There was a good version of samosa chaat. Chopped up crisp pastry, onion, tomato, chickpeas, chilli, mixed with a sweet/sharp chutney (that would have been better with more sharp) and drizzled with yoghurt. Onion and potato bhajis were as you’d expect – sliced onion given a spice coating, battered and fried and slices of potato also given a coating of something and fried.

Vegetable dopiaza was also pretty good. Lots of onion, of course, together with potato, peas, courgette and sweetcorn in a thick, clingy sauce which had a good whack from chilli. Karahi gosht came from the desi section of the menu. It’s a very generous serving on delicious tender lamb, also in a clingy sauce that was very well balanced between the various spices – yes, chilli was there but it didnt overpower the fragrance from coriander.

For carbs, we both ordered bread – tandoori roti and garlic naan. A miscommunication brought a family sized naan – one of those enormous affairs hung vertically on a hook, so it looks like the sail on a boat, and which goes cold as soon as you look at it. Both tasted fine, though.

As always, service was quick, slick and entirely on the ball. So, totally unplanned but a decent dinner nevertheless. We’ll have another try for the Northern Quarter Restaurant next week and maybe we’ll just get the tram.