[Manchester, city centre] This & That

Probably the best known of the Northern Quarter’s “curry cafes” – although not my favourite but the Little Aladdin is closed for a refurb and the Yagdar was still in the process of opening when I wanted to eat.

As with most of the cafes, the deal is the “rice and three” – big plate of rice topped with your choice of three curries from the day’s offerings of nine (selection changes daily). So, nice fluffy rice, a pretty much bog standard keema & peas, really well spiced lamb & lentils (more a lamb flavoured daal than a lamb dish, if you see what I mean) and a comforting potato & spinach. Bargain at £4.50. Pick up jug of water from the counter and you’re ready to “do lunch”. Consider it a Pakistani “greasy spoon”, so understand the expectation that you take your dirty crockery, etc back to the counter.

The interesting thing about Indian restaurants is that in England, from your post, it seems like most lunch is “rice and three”. In America, its mostly buffet. In India, there is no buffet. Not sure about whether its “rice and three” there though.

I think our Asian restaurants break down into three basic categories. The vast majority of them are “proper restaurants” with a menu. Then there’s the buffet places. Then there’s the cafes - the greasy spoons, if you will. The cafes in this area originally set up as lunch canteens for the mainly Pakistani men working in the city’s garment district. There’s not so much of that work going on these days (the place where my father spent his entire working life has recently been demolished) and it’s rare to see an Asian face in the cafes these days.

Do the buffet places and cafe offer the same type of food all day? Here, many south Asian restaurants, whether hole-in-the-wall or upscale, offer buffet during lunch and regular menu during dinner.

The cafes are only open for lunch. And the buffets I know of are open for dinner only.

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

― Jonathan Gold

Market stall in Lima
Credit: TXMX 2