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GORDO: Indian Tiffin Room | Cheadle

The Fat One on a back street Indian food revolution seven miles south of Manchester

Written by . Published on November 24th 2014.

GORDO: Indian Tiffin Room | Cheadle


IT SEEMS most revolutions begin down back streets; rarely do they appear out of the blue in a £1.2 million fit-out in Spinningfields.

Half a small chicken covered in house speciality spices, marinated then roasted in the charcoal tandoor, deliver big. Eat one and never eat another elsewhere.

Chinese cooking in Manchester began to change in an alley down the back of Princess Street forty years ago. Gordo remembers the most remarkable spring roll he had ever tasted; it was no more than the width of his Fathers Cohiba Esplendidos cigar and a third of the length. It was also full of something called flavour. Thus, the Yeung family brought true Cantonese to Manchester and the UK and began that revolution through The Yang Sing restaurants.

Well, the same thing is starting for Indian sub-continent cuisine. Like those abominable ‘Chinese chippies’, the utter brown-ness of the ‘curry house’ is about to undergo a revolution; their basic three stock dishes and thirty different 'house speciality' menu bullshit has been rumbled.

Indian Tiffin Rooms, Cheadle

Dohsa - MegaDohsa - Mega

One or two of the traditional houses are changing fast to meet this revolution. Most noticeably is Mughli on the Curry Mile, run by brothers Sax and Haz Arshad - the second generation of this family business. Haz, apart from having become the Hilda Ogden of social media with the digital equivalent of twitching twitter curtains, is transforming his menu.

It’s hugely enjoyable, even if Mughli is starting to looking a bit like a way-station hut at the jump-off point for an expedition up Everest. If the lovely Haz encroaches any further onto Wilmslow Road, Rusholme Council will have to build a by-pass.

The one place that is showing a clean break though is down a back street in Cheadle, seven miles south of Manchester city centre. It’s the brain child of two southern Indian lads and University graduates, Srini Sundaram and Suresh Raje Urs.

They have a spent a few years planning a restaurant that delivers the true taste of the Indian subcontinent cooking. This is not Bangladeshi, nor Pakistani. The subcontinent is as big as Europe and the cuisines are just as diversified.

Named after the Indian equivalent of Tupperware (but made of metal), the premise of The Indian Tiffin Room begins with the street food of India, particularly southern India. Whilst they have been smart enough to include updated classic Raj cuisine numbers, many of the tastes, looks and textures are new, certainly to Gordo.

Dahi VadaDahi Vada

Sharing PlatterSharing Platter

One of Gordo's oldest pals, Yousaf Mehnga, went with him. A Pakistani, even he fell in love. He was explaining to Gordo about two dishes, the grazing platter and the Dahi Vada (both pictured above). These were typical of what his family eats outside the cinema after seeing the latest Bollywood blockbuster.

After three and a half hours of war, love, dancing, another war, more love, more dancing, and finally a tragedy, the team are all ready to eat. Mehnga can apparently feed fourteen of The Fat One's nieces and nephews out there for the price of a small popcorn and coke in the Manchester Odeon.

Dahi Vada is lentil doughnuts soaked in spiced yoghurt sprinkled with chopped coriander and chickpeas. Bhel Puri comes in a bowl, consisting of crushed crispy pastry, seasoned potatoes and puffed rice (think rice crispies) coated in a date chutney and laced with pomegranate seeds.

Dahi Puri and Sev Puri are puffed hollow pastry rounds; think of choux pastry but crispier and in balls, filled with savoury, yoghurty-spicy goodies delivering flavour to make you weep.

Chicken LollypopChicken Lollypop

Lamb ChopsLamb Chops

Chicken Lollypop is a Western name given to the meaty part of the wing stripped back down the bone, spiced and cooked on charcoal. Franco over at Solita would have you believe he invented this method of cooking. Nope, Franco will be distraught to discover that the silk route have been at it for six thousand years, and now have it spot on. The well-known lamb chop is thicker than most and gladly tastes of lamb, having not been incinerated.

Tiffin dishes are the cornerstone of the menu and look bloody spectacular, especially at the price. The Masala Dosa, a thin lentil crepe with potato masala filling, is £3.85. It arrives with coconut and tomato chutney and a mild spicy lentil stew. This is actually cheaper than that Odeon box of popcorn.

ITR lamb - a more traditional curry to a Westerner’s mind - is equaled only by two others in the North West (at the aforementioned Mughli and Ziya's lamb on the bone). Next, half a small chicken (main image) covered in house speciality spices, marinated then roasted in the charcoal tandoor, deliver big. Eat one and never eat another elsewhere. Moist, crispy, tickled with fire and served with mightily cute naan, it’s a masterpiece.

There is a huge problem with this restaurant though, it’s too small. Gordo could only get in by arriving on a Tuesday evening at 5pm. So all the best getting a table. Still, if you want to boast like Gordo just has that he was in on the Yang Sing revolution from the very beginning, then get your arses over here. Whatever it takes folks.

It’s a Gordo Go.

Follow @GordoManchester on twitter.

Indian Tiffin RoomChapel St, Cheadle, Cheshire, SK8 1BR. 0161 491 2020. Menu here.

Gordo recommends:

Chaas - A buttermilk drink with spices including ginger. Great with highly spiced food.

TiffinYou’ll find these in the middle of the menu. Fill your boots, they are all fantastic.

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