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Bollywood Restaurant Review

Ruth Allan yawns through dinner

Published on February 22nd 2012.

Bollywood Restaurant Review

BOLLYWOOD has a menu of something like 80 curries.

Now I know what you’re thinking. So many currys! Beeerilliant!

The service was flawless but work on the food offering is desperately needed.

But a huge menu can be cause for concern too. Can they really make so many dishes fresh to order. And why are two identical chicken dishes coming in at different prices? Sometimes choice isn’t freedom, and most of us would rather choose from a few, well-executed dishes than 80 sloppy ones.

To be honest, I soon gave up on the massive menu in favour of the wine list.

Short in comparison, the varietals complement the middle-of-the-road Pakistani fare on offer. Our Rioja (Vega Del Rayo Reserva, £24.95), for example, was a heavyweight plucked from a selection that included organic merlot (£21.95) and Argentine Malbec (crazily reasonable at £16.95).

You’ll want to keep your wits about you when ordering though. The copywriters have gone a bit awry. Amarone is down as Amerone, for example, Malbec as Melbec. It’s a good list though; sturdy wines, lots of punch.

I had the masala dosai (£4.95), to start. This is a standard snack of crisp pancake and spiced mashed potato. Served with a curry-based sauce and one which tasted like brown sauce, only hotter, it was a meal in itself.

The pancake filling was herbaceous and flavoursome, the side dishes a perfect complement. If I came again, I’d probably just have this. My friend Damo’s starter of cod tikka (£7.95) was good too. Tender thick hunks of fillet with the perfect level of charring on the outside, served steaming hot, not overdone.

(Click here to add text)

There was very little to recommend the mains. Of the lot, a side of Karachi Saag (spinach, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, green chilli, £4.50) was the worst offender. Given the high water content of spinach, and the fact that this water is concentrated and condensed in the cooking process, spinach clings to chemical residue. “It’s very… err.....Fairy Liquid-y”, Damo said, mid-gurn.

Fairy liquid-yFairy liquid-y

The rest of our order was drawn from the 'Apna-style menu'. I wasn’t sure what ‘apna’ meant at the time, but The Spice Club’s Monica Sawhney has since filled me in.

'Apna' translates as 'Our own' so it means home-made home-recipe curries. That's good to know and this ‘home-style’ menu is also an option for those on a budget.

The portions are of an identical size to those on the main list, for example, yet £3 and £5 cheaper per dish. There are no descriptions, which is a shame as I’d like to know more about dishes like ‘kidneys special’. The descriptions on the main menu are generally poor, 'Gabbar Singh - Chicken or lamb extremely…..hooooooooot', for example.

The chicken in the chicken karahi (£7.95) was not on the bone, as promised. Instead it was attached to avian chub and a bland, oniony sauce. Lacking in lustre, it shared ambition with the lamb nihari (£7.95).

Bland mainsBland mains


Served at Zouk, Akbars, and many other locations too, this slow-cooked curry’s allure lies in its aromatic melange of meltingly soft lamb and gravy. At Bollywood, the sauce was sadly diluted, losing much of its gooey, aniseedy allure in the process.

Speaking of nearby Akbars, Bollywood needs a little more love and attention directed at the mains if it’s to thrive on the same street.

The service was flawless - when it came to the end of the meal, for example, our guy took the initiative of offering to make an Asian tea for me which was a highlight - but work on the food offering is desperately needed.

And maybe it needs to explain that name - Bollywood - a little more. There's little of the allure of the latter here. 


Bollywood, 15-25 Liverpool Road, M3 4NW. 0161 832 1290

Rating: 11/20
Food: 4/10
Service: 4/5
Ambience: 3/5

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.


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paulFebruary 22nd 2012.

The P109099(1) looks a bit greasy

AnonymousFebruary 22nd 2012.

"You’ll want to keep your wits about you when ordering though. The copywriters have gone a bit awry. Amarone is down as Amerone, for example, Malbec as Melbec.". Wow, yeah, without my wits I'd never have guessed Melbec meant Malbec.

RevaulxFebruary 23rd 2012.

Not sure if it's related to the Bollywood Lounge in Wakefield, which is pretty decent and plays non-stop Asian pop videos on a big screen. Gabbar appears on their menu as well; it was thermo-nuclear on Sunday night.

user4493February 27th 2012.

Are you mad? Do not please ever described overpriced price as 'reasonable' - you are permitting restaurant owners to add a massive mark-up to mediocre wine. We prefer BYO Indian restaurants where we can enjoy our Majestic purchases along with fab food without being ripped off.
Jilly - Urmston

Abdul KhanFebruary 29th 2012.

i ave been in bolly woob with my family on last sunday.the food and service was excelent.staters were fabouls.and main courses very nice and good portions as well and very tasty.we really enjoy there good food frindly staff and very good atmospher.bolly wood is very good adition in good curry houses in manchester.welldone

1 Response: Reply To This...
Jonathan Schofield - editorMarch 3rd 2012.

Dear people from Bollywood, please stop putting alleged 'punter' comments up. It's getting silly now. These are very transparent, with similar syntax and spelling errors.

AnonymousMarch 2nd 2012.

Hello! Me and my friends decided to give it a try to this restaurant and, to be honest, it was worth it. We spend quality time there and we really enjoyed the food and the lovely atmosphere. Though at first we were a bit confused with the big variety of dishes, the staff helped us decide. The staff was really helpful! All in all, we had a good time and I definitely recommend it.

AnonymousMarch 2nd 2012.

Good to see 2 of the waiters chipping in above...

MariaMarch 3rd 2012.

i think the review is too harsh, though the restaurant needs some improving, it wasn`t that bad. the food was alright and also the service. i can`t say i was dissapointed that i chose to go there, i might even go again!

SunnyMarch 3rd 2012.

bollywood is a king of curry We started with vegetable somozas and chana puri , the former with a light pastry and both dishes first class.

I was undecided for the main course, but settled on chicken sarukh on waiter’s recommendation. It was very good, and I did appreciate it was served on bowl that had been properly warmed. My friend had the Karathi lamb from apna style (diced lamb) which he enjoyed.. thank you bollywood we will isit again..

1 Response: Reply To This...
Jonathan Schofield - editorMarch 3rd 2012.

Dear people from Bollywood, please stop putting alleged 'punter' comments up. It's getting silly now. These are very transparent, with similar syntax and spelling errors.

Gillynumber1March 13th 2012.


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