Of late, it’s rare that I’m in the city centre during the day. Which means I’ve sort of lost touch with the curry cafes in the Northern Quarter. There’s been some changes since I last went for a nosy. The Al Faisal has moved across the road into larger premises. This & That has new furniture – uncomfortable benches in place of the manky plastic chairs. And the Little Aladdin has gone entirely vegan. That said, they all seem to retain their place as a sort of Asian equivalent of the greasy spoon.
The Aladdin was always my favourite. I liked its tiny nature – maybe just eight seats – as well as the food. It’s also had something of a refurb since I was last there. But, like most of the cafes, they still offer what has become the traditional Manc fayre of “rice & three”. That’s a plate of rice topped with your choice of three curries from their selection on the day of around six. I choose daal, a potato & aubergine curry and a spinach one. All three pleasant enough with quite mild spicing. Decent enough lunch for a fiver – which is also what it cost me much later for a bratwurst at the Christmas market. I know which is the better value – and it’ll be here year round.