Since moving to Manchester there has been a careful list of recommendation I have been steadily making my way through. One pretty near the top, is the spaghetti junction of cultures that is Curry Mile. Head out-of-town, pulling off the A57 south onto Oxford road (Avoiding the sink giant hole of Mancunian way), and watch the red bricks of the University slowly turn into a rich, vibrant high street spilling to the brim with colour and spice.
Genuinely signposted as Curry Mile Wilmslow road has become famous for the amount of Indian restaurants that house the street. Now rumoured to be more than 70 strong in the mile stretch, it’s not just Indian restaurants that you will find here – Shisha bars, Gelato Parlours, Turkish Kebab houses, as well as Afghan, Lebanese, Pakistani, Persian, Bangladeshi, and all other Middle Eastern/Asian cuisines you can think of. From street food, to fine dining, with a huge number of takeaways in between, Curry Mile is quite a sight. But it’s not just your eyes that this road will affect, the rich aromas hit you as soon as you step on to the street, luring you into a now difficult decision of where to eat..
After dilly dallying around for half an hour, the final choice was Punjab Tandoori. The restaurant has received the certificate of excellence in both 2013 & 2014, and its safe to say I was not disappointed.
Whether you are starting or ending your evening on the world-famous Curry Mile, you will be sure to remember your trip. Curry mile’s peak times are between 7-11 in the evening, theres then a brief stillness before the students arrive at 3am, back from their nights out in the city, ready to demolish a spice fueled kebab. I however chose completely the wrong time of day to visit, we had to actually wait for our chosen restaurant (Punjab Tandoori), to be ready for service.
Credit to the staff, my friend and I couldn’t have been less decisive, even with 20 minutes to kill we couldn’t come to a decision, only with being pressured by a pen and pad, ready to scribble the order, did we finally choose. And boy oh boy did we make a good choice. A delicious curry with sides, just enough for two to share and a combined total of under £20, absolute Indian perfection.
Punjab Tandoori specialise in North and South Indian dishes, with a large menu offering a huge number of traditional Dosa, sizzling meat and vegetarian options. The Chefs Special Punjab Tawamix made up of Paneer, Chicken, Lamb and Kebab pieces in a rich, medium spiced sauce (£9.90), was a hugely contrasting dish packed with flavour.
After feeling suitably satisfied with our mains, we went for a wonder in search of something sweet. In the spirit of curry mile it felt only right to try something new and traditional, and so we brought two Paan’s. I had no idea what this was, so like all great learning curves in the 21st Century, heres Wikipedia’s answer;
Paan (Hindi: पान from Sanskrit parṇa, “leaf”) is a preparation combining betel leaf with areca nut and sometimes also with tobacco. It is chewed for its stimulant and psychoactive effects. After chewing it is either spat out or swallowed. Paan has many variations. Slaked lime (chunnam) paste is commonly added to bind the leaves. Some South Asian preparations include katha paste or mukhwas to freshen the breath.
I am going to apologise now for the photo I took of the Paan we ate, and I must say it really wasn’t to my taste. But nether the less Curry Mile surprised, intrigued and fascinated me in all the ways I had hoped. So I cannot wait to return on another cultural adventure soon.
For details of the restaurant featured – Punjab Tandoori, please visit their Facebook page
Address: 177 Wilmslow Rd, Manchester M14 5AP
Phone:0161 225 2960.