[West Didsbury, Manchester] Indique

We have quite a number of restaurants which we visit regularly, although eating out every week “regularly” means only once or twice a year. And it was about this time in 2017 when we were last here. They’ve had something of a refurbishment since then and it now looks smarter but still firmly rooted as a neighbourhood gaff. It’s one of the few Indian restaurants in the metro area that’s actually owned by Indians.

There was bhel puri to start. There’s quite a cheffy presentation – it’s been moulded in a ring and there’s arty slashes of sauce across the plate. Looks great and tastes good as well. There’s crisp puffed rice, potato, a topping of more crispy stuff in the form of sev. And the tang and sweetness from a date paste, which makes a change from the more usual tamarind. Nice little background note from chilli. The other starter was a kathi roll, something we hadn’t come across before and, so Google tells me, is something originating from Calcutta. Think flatbread rolled into a wrap stuffed with vegetables (there’s a chicken kebab version), mint and a spicy chutney. It works very well.

My companion in life can be a bit predictable in South Asian restaurants. Nine times out of ten, the main course order will be for aloo gobi. I sometimes think “Go on, order something different for a change”. But not here. This is a fine example of a classic dish. Potatoes and cauliflower are cooked so that they just retain a bit of bite. There’s a small amount of clingy sauce and good spicing – nothing overly dominant. The chef has pretty much nailed it.

Their version of Lamb rogan-e-nishaat was a world away from the curry house rogan josh. There’s a generous portion of very long cooked tasty lamb in a smooth tomato sauce. Again, the spicing is spot on. For carbs , we shared pilau rice and a tandoori roti – both excellent.

Only one of us wanted dessert, but they brought two spoons in any case. Much as I enjoy the Indian sweets that you can buy in places on Rusholme’s “curry mile”, I never usually fancy dessert after a curry. So, I’d never eaten gulab jamun before. You get a couple of the sweet dumplings – they reminded me of a very British treacle sponge (and that’s a good thing) and a blob of ice cream. It’s not a big portion but it’s very rich and just enough.