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Braai Restaurant Reviewed

Jonathan Schofield gets to the meat of the matter

Written by . Published on April 8th 2013.

Braai Restaurant Reviewed

SURPRISES are best. Pleasant ones of course.

For £20 it does the Mondo Burger which, to quote is a ‘bespoke burger which contains five different types of homemade Braai burger’. So one burger multiplied by five. Funny. Filling no doubt.

So as Sleuth described last week, while looking for a Polish place in Old Trafford, Confidential stumbled across a restaurant two doors down and six thousand miles away.

Very full Braai insideVery full Braai inside

This is Braai and is a South African meets South Asian venue (along with any other cuisine it targets). It has struck a resounding chord on Ayres Road. Braai means ‘barbecue’ in Afrikaans and ‘very popular’ in Mancunian.

At tea time on a recent Thursday it was full of Pakistani and Bangladeshi customers tucking into the cracking grills and excellent burritos. The website claims the place has ‘customers as far away as Malaysia’. This can mean anything of course. I’m writing this in Portugal on an Easter break so Braai can presently claim it has customers as far away as the Iberian peninsula too.

The interior is one of those converted shop units that in this area of Manchester-over-the-Trafford border is the de rigueur home of fast food outlets and micro-restaurants.

It's an interesting place Ayres Road. With its big Chinese alternative health centre, Asian bakeries and ice cream parlours plus a huge supermarket, the best for Indian groceries in the southern half of the city, there’s a real buzz to the street.

It’s not pretty though, there are two churches and the lovely half-timbered Seymour Park Primary School, but when not filled with shops and eateries, Ayres Road is made up of battered terraced houses.

Still if you were to describe a typical inner-urban multi-cultural British street to a foreigner then this place would fit the bill perfectly. I love it.

Back to Braai.

The interior was clearly done out by the owner and his mates at a capital outlay of 47p; it’s never going to win any design awards even from B&Q. A grim detail is that the toilet is shared with the staff and is accessed through the kitchen. Yeah, yeah, hygiene boffins, I know, I know, but the food is superb, so get over it. Pretend you’re holidaying in the Hindu Kush rather than Old Trafford and don’t let it get in the way of the experience.

On my visit I had three hungry boys to feed so it was inevitable that I went for the Braai grill at £18.95. This included a half piri piri chicken, two beef fillets, several filo prawns, two lamb chops, loads of chicken wings, rice and a big salad.

Meaty temptationMeaty temptation - photographed in a take-away box

If ever you should be holding a party to celebrate meat, just meat, and haven’t got time to cook then you might consider this dish for the centrepiece of your table.

It’s bloody good too. Alive with spices, soaring with heat, glorious to look at and was massively enjoyed by the three lads. Nothing was stodgy or overcooked, the meat was juicy and eminently satisfying. There wasn’t an ounce of subtlety of course and there was loads of saucy slop. We had to stain our fingers to finish it all and fight our way through a full kitchen towel of hand-wiping.

As a little extra I’d ordered the Thai lamb burrito for £7.95. Now this had subtlety with a lemongrass lift and delicate flavours. I’m glad I ate it before massacring part of the piri piri chicken and its festival of fire. 

Beautiful burritoBeautiful burrito

Braai also does burgers starting at just under £3. For £20 it does the Mondo Burger which, to quote is a ‘bespoke burger containing five different types of homemade Braai burger’. So one burger multiplied by five. Funny. Filling no doubt.

There’s no alcohol so forget that but plenty of non-alcoholic options along with a massive range of two desserts. These are the appalling-sounding Oreo cheesecake, and the disgusting-sounding Ferrero Rocher cheesecake. I'll try them next time maybe, as a species of medical experiment. 

While in the restaurant a management type let slip that Braai has found a 100 cover restaurant site close to House of Fraser, née Kendals. He couldn’t remember the exact address but he reckons they'll be open by autumn.

The old Staples unit is empty at the junction with King Street West. Perhaps Braai is moving there, right next to Bem Brasil. Given the skill in the preparation of the spices (the piri piri sauce is the best in the city, and the chilli and garlic sauces aren’t far behind) then I know which I’d choose.

Certainly Braai has a guaranteed slot on our soon to be published ‘Best of Manchester cheap eats’.

One last thing.

The menu has a section which reads ‘A Statement From Braai: If you feel like creating a dish, feel free to ask a member of staff. If we can, we will.’

I might ask if they can knock up a Cadbury’s cream egg cheesecake. That dessert list isn't quite repulsive enough yet.

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter here@JonathSchofield or connect via Google+


Braai Steakhouse, 59 Ayres Road, Old Trafford, Manchester. M16 9NH. 0161 478 5253

Rating: 13.5/20 

Food: 7.5/10 (Braai grill meats 7.5, filo prawns 8, burrito 7.5) 
Service: 3/5
Ambience: 3/

PLEASE NOTE: Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20, we get carried away.

Popular Braai SteakhousePopular Braai Steakhouse

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

StephApril 8th 2013.

I'm sure that if it was the Staples unit he was talking about then he'd remember the location.

ChrisApril 9th 2013.

What about the vacant lot where pesto used to be?

1 Response: Reply To This...
SteamyApril 9th 2013.

This unit already has somebody else moving in...

Freda SmithApril 10th 2013.

having worked and dined in many different places have to say although food sounds great would not go to existing rest due to toilet facilities. Have seen too many chefs not washing hands after using toilets and various dirty habits which I do not want to write about here. However if new premises are available lets wait and see

1 Response: Reply To This...
John TaylorApril 12th 2013.


Dear Freda, good news for you :)

ChrisApril 10th 2013.

who's moving in to the old pesto unit?

johnApril 10th 2013.

The rumours are Byron Burger for the old pesto unit. Open by end of June apparently

1 Response: Reply To This...
IanApril 10th 2013.

Love a Byron Burger, mac n cheese, courgette fries, root beer....it's a good chain.

MeApril 10th 2013.

And Lucha Libre and one of Manchesters already booming burger joins is heading to that end of town.. so rumour has it!

AnonymousApril 11th 2013.

Yeah lucha libre at Great Northern, Braai will be at 39 South King Street

IanApril 12th 2013.

Would have went but.....toilet in the kitchen?

1 Response: Reply To This...
John TaylorApril 13th 2013.

lol.toilet not in the kitchen.its outside of kitchen.

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