[West Didsbury, Manchester] Indique

Don’t go expecting the same old identikit menu of the high street curry house with its Anglicised “any protein with any sauce” dishes. Do go and find a shortish menu of well crafted food – maybe 20 starters and 25 or so main courses, getting on for half of them vegetarian. The owner is, I think, from Rajasthan in the north of India, home to perhaps the country’s richest cuisine. So, expect dishes from the north of the country, like Lal Maas, in the form of lamb chops. But the menu manages to also reach out to other regions – for instance in a Hyderabadi chicken biryani. This was well put together with nice layers of rice and well spiced chicken. Before that, I’d started with achari paneer tikka. I’d always thought of achari spicing as being a particular feature of Bengali cooking but Indique’s owner explained to me that achar (pickle) is used throughout India and, indeed, will differ from region to region. Here, the paneer is marinated in tikka and pickle spices before going in the tandoor. It gives a lovely sour edge to contrast with the richness of the cheese.

My companion had started with sev puri – four pastry discs, topped with onion, tamarind chutney and a thick sprinkling or vermicelli. It was declared to be OK but seemed to be lacking something in flavour. Not quite sure what, but something. That was followed by a good version of aloo gobi. Waxy potatoes that held their shape, cauliflower also retaining a bit of bite. Good clingy sauce that went well with the excellent lemon rice.

Places like this have to be welcomed in South Manchester. With the vegetarian food at Sanskruti in Withington and the street food of Cheadle’s Aamchi Mumbai, it is getting easier to find really good south Asian food in the area. I’ll be back for that Lal Maas.

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

― Jonathan Gold