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This’n’That: An Artistic Curry Movement

Emma Nuttall finds the Northern Quarter walls are talking

Published on November 15th 2011.

This’n’That: An Artistic Curry Movement

HIDDEN down a generally unnoticed alley in the Northern Quarter lies This-n-That a gem of a South Asian cafe huddled down Soap Street.

Perhaps this flash of colour will catch people’s peripherals on the way past an otherwise unremarkable street. 

This-n-That is an old favourite of Manchester Confidential’s brought to our attention once again because of the recent appearance of quirky new street art painted on the external walls.

Creative works aren’t unusual for the streets of Manchester’s Boho Quarter. However this isn’t your average urban graffiti, it’s a tasteful piece of wall art, depicting a rainy, retro street scene, full of silhouettes against a city backdrop. A colourful summary of what this slightly time-worn, industrial street setting may have been in years gone by.  


This N That 008


Inside the cafe it’s a pretty basic set up, like a school canteen with easy-clean plastic furniture. However, despite the unglamorous presentation, this is where - as Mancunians know - you can find some of Manchester’s truly tasty curry dishes; the rough edges are all part of the authentic appeal.

After taking a few snaps, I went inside for further investigation about how this mural came about, speaking to owner Mr Mallu over their famous dish of rice and three:

“It was one of our regulars in a local company that suggested the paint job," said Mallu. "He thought we needed to tidy the outside up a bit. Turned out he was an artist and had some ideas, so we let him get on with it, by the end of the week we had the picture.” 

Mystreetretro is the company responsible for creating the work. The Manchester based architect and designer certainly found something that equals the unpretentious feel the cafe oozes and matches the fun of a simple setting.

“We are really happy with it”, continues Mallu “lots of people stop to take their photos outside on the painted bench. It’s a feature. We are thinking about updating the inside now too”

Perhaps this flash of colour will catch people’s peripherals on the way past an otherwise unremarkable street. Though in honesty it hardly needs to attract more business, the queue is out the door and the atmosphere is lively and buzzing.

It’s simple business with a simple concept: cheap, tasty food delivered by a smiling, no-nonsense team. Except now it’s been tarted up with a rather dashing lick of paint.

This N That 001

This N That 003 

This N That 006


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21 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

EmNovember 15th 2011.

I work too far away from the NQ to visit this place at lunchtime so was delighted when a branch opened up at the back of Kendals. However, it seems to have been bought by someone else now and has turned into a horrid, horrid place. All sports programmes (yes, there is now a tv in there), jeering men, burgers and pizzas. Not good. I miss my fortnightly curry treat :(

Kevin PeelNovember 16th 2011.

Ashamed to admit that I haven't been to this place yet. Must get down there soon!

Kevin PeelNovember 16th 2011.

Also, stay tuned for more fantastic street art coming to a Northern Quarter street near you...

Petra Hoschtitzky-van Den HoutenNovember 16th 2011.

This is my local favourite, great to see the outside done up!

AnonymousNovember 17th 2011.

OOO I fear change and I liked the crumbling brickwork look.

AnonymousNovember 17th 2011.

In my opinion, the best curry in town... I just wish they had an upmarket version that I could take the missus too... authentic tasty curry, cooked the only way it should be.

AnonymousNovember 17th 2011.

Love this place, best in Manchester but Yadgar runs it close!

Dave MartinNovember 17th 2011.

Love this place but there are lots of similar places around if you don't find it easy to get to: EDITORIAL COMMENT: see statement below

1 Response: Reply To This...
Jonathan SchofieldNovember 18th 2011.

You cheeky bugger. We're not an ad medium for you Dave. Get in touch with me if you want to write food reviews for us. Thanks.

Michelle Murray shared this on Facebook on November 19th 2011.
CBNovember 19th 2011.

love it, although Maharba is my personal favourite

AnonymousNovember 20th 2011.

I can eat there 7 days a week!!

Mark BoardmanDecember 8th 2011.

a true mancunian classic.

AnonymousApril 13th 2012.

As a newcomer, I thought I'd try This'n'That at Soap Street last evening.

Has it closed?

In which case should this community be updated to reflect the fact?

Jonathan Schofield - editorApril 13th 2012.

Anon. I'll have a look later today.

JoanApril 13th 2012.

I always thought This'n'That was daytime only, as are most of the Rice'n'3 cafes. They sprang up to serve the garment industry workers.

Bob the BritApril 17th 2012.

Okay, my bad... I didn't realise it was a lunchtime only gig, and when i looked past in the evening the entrance was behind bins, I assumed it was a gonner.

Although a clue about opening hours might save embarrassment for us newbies.

I did try my first Rice and Three at Yagdar last night, and despite it being last knockings (at about 7pm) it was great!

JoanApril 17th 2012.

Maybe ManCon should have a potted guide for Manchester newcomers.

William MorrisNovember 15th 2012.

Try Qila Khyber on Bury New Road - top quality curry cafe. They have a whole lamb on the takeaway menu at £199 - yes £199. And they sell. You can get the takeaway rice &3 for £3.50 yes £3.50.

William MorrisNovember 15th 2012.

Having said that, I've been a regular at This 'n That for over 20 years...

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