[Manchester, city centre] Indian Tiffin Room

This is a very new opening in the city centre from the guys at the original ITR in Cheadle (itself only a couple of years old). And what a difference. Cheadle is a small shopfront, where you’re crammed in so that you are, almost literally, rubbing shoulders with the people on the next table. In Manchester, there’s space, there’s a small bar area; there’s the excitement of watching the open kitchen (only if conversation with your companion sours – or you’re seated directly next to it, as we were.). But some things are the same – it’s a very slick operation with good service. And the food is spot on – although it could have come a tad quicker and we’re not fans of the “dishes will come when they’re cooked” style, rather than the “dishes are cooked so that both starters come together.”

As to those starters, there was an absolute belter of a bowl of bhel puri. Just the right balance of pastry, potato and puffed rice with a zingy date chutney. It really was everything you expect from the dish. There was a beetroot shami kebab – it had the texture of a lamb shami; it had the spicing of a lamb shami; and it had been given a good seeing-to in the pan so it even looked quite like a lamb shami. It came with a couple of chutneys – a mint one and a fruit/chilli one. The third starter (yes, we were being greedy) was an onion rava dosa. Made from semolina, rather than the usual rice/lentil mix, this was even thinner and crisper than a standard dosa. It comes with sambar, coconut and tomato chutneys and a chilli sauce. It’s a knockout.

A standard masala dosa formed one of the main courses. Again, a well made version with a well spiced potato filling and the same accompaniments as the other one. Just the sort of lightish main course you might want after those starters. There’s a number of Hyderabadi dishes running through the menu and one was lamb dalcha. Tender lamb, served untraditionally off the bone, mixed with a daal and a well spiced gravy. It comes with your choice of rice or bread. I asked for rice. Then ordered a tandoori roti, as well . Both carbs were excellent – fluffy rice, roti just crisping round the edges as you hope for.

What a good dinner. And I was so pleased for the owners to see it busy. The overheads in the city centre must be eye-wateringly high but it already looks like a success.

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

― Jonathan Gold