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Nawaab review

Michael Taylor takes his family to the city’s best-known buffet

Published on September 28th 2010.

Nawaab review

We have more than the average quota of kids, five to be exact, all boys. So: yes this is a review of the Nawaab, but one which looks at it from the point of view of a man taking his family.

I’ve been to a few of these buffet places for lunch in Manchester city centre and it’s all mass produced vats of bland stuff next to unidentifiable deep fried rubber. The Nawaab is in a different class.

Now the Nawaab is one of those places we’ve passed many times, liked the look of, but never entered. Now having enjoyed it, we will almost certainly be going back with the tribe. They loved the experience.

It began well. We were made to feel so welcome from the minute we drove into the secure car park off the main road. This continued as we walked through the shiny marble reception and into the cavernous depths of this former cinema. That might sound like a self-evident fact. We have money. They are a restaurant. They are a service industry. But you will be surprised how many times our scruffy rabble are barely tolerated by impatient shop keepers and restaurant owners.

You can’t book at the Nawaab and we had to wait at the bar for about 20 minutes when we arrived at 6.30. They told us it would be half an hour, which is quite a clever trick. The kids all had a drink at the bar, one of them didn’t explain what he wanted and got the wrong thing but that’s not the barman’s fault and we didn’t ask to change it.

You can’t get a beer as it’s very proudly an alcohol free zone. At first I cursed this, but in a noisy, bustling and ever so slightly chaotic atmosphere I was grateful later.

We were seated on a table for six and they brought an extra chair for us. It all added to the adventure. They charge £12 per head, with adults starting at 11 years of age and then the youngsters from 4 upwards are charged half price. This was clearly and patiently explained.

The food is a buffet. You just pile in. Our lot headed straight for the starters, and this being Asian food we were keen to let them experiment, but not to put them off for life by scorching the insides of their mouths. We also ordered two bottles of water – they don’t offer jugs of tap water which is rubbish. I won’t have bottled mineral water in the house, I think it’s an abomination and a scam. But that’s what we had here and I couldn’t really be arsed to argue.

As parents we were the testers, in order to make sure the kids were all right, which is a great place to be. I love a spicy tomato sauce on a naan bread. I love shish kebabs, chicken tikka, spicy wings, but they were very hot. Fine for me, but we steered the kids to the ones that didn’t look and taste too fiery. This we got slightly wrong and then had to order more and more water.

I’ve been to a few of these buffet places for lunch in Manchester city centre and it’s all mass produced vats of bland stuff next to unidentifiable deep fried rubber. This was in a different class.

All straight out of the kitchen, lamb chops right off the grill, fresh meat and fresh fish. I could list every dish they have, but they don’t and I can’t. I’ll highlight the lamb though. Proper melt in your mouth slow cooked lamb, juicy and tasty whether it was coated in a dry kirali sauce, or the speciality niralli, a creamy sauce.

There were chillis to add on, bits of coconut, cashews. The choice was absolutely bewildering. For the kids it didn’t matter, they were at liberty to try and discover a little bit of everything. And as a bit of an old fashioned Victorian Dad when it comes to waste, I’d scoop up what they couldn’t eat.

In a previous review someone took umbrage that I’d been to a country pub and had a fresh market chicken salad. Like having an omelette in a curry house, they said. Yes, quite. Well Nawaab also had chips, pizza and a pasta in cheese sauce. Guess what one of our kids liked best when given the choice?

But, to be fair, I noticed plenty of the traditionally dressed Asian customers piling their plates with chips as well. There’s obviously a market for it across the ethnic groupings despite what the purists think.

The crowning glory was the dessert selection: piles of ice cream of all their favourite flavours and a delicious gateau. Not very Asian – I should have chosen the sweets, but I was stuffed. We were ever so slightly nudged along by our enthusiastic waiting staff, but this isn’t the place to hang around for long anyway. (They also got a bit touchy about us taking photos and stopped me just as I was getting started.)

By the time we left the Nawaab was heaving with people, guests were arriving in the dusk, stepping out of stretch limousines and being dropped off by proud fathers in large saloon cars. The happy and celebratory air of the wedding party filled the reception area. The kids loved the sounds and energy of it all. And it’s not hard to understand why. It was an adventure and an experience.

One big criticism is that the toilets were a mess. Apart from that, I couldn’t fault the Nawaab for somewhere to take our lads and expand their culinary horizons.

Rating: 15.5/20
Breakdown: 8/10 food
3.5/5 service
4.5/5 ambience
Address: Nawaab
1008 Stockport Road
Manchester M19 3WN
0161 224 6969

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: Gordo gets carried away

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

jimJune 7th 2010.

Not been here yet but heard good things about it. You mention there is no good indian buffet in Manchester but i must recommend the Swadesh on portland street, its quite new, is £6.95 for all you can eat buffet and the quality of food is fantastic, i had a lamb and potato curry on Friday which was out of this world!

AvoJune 7th 2010.

Isn't the buffet at Swadesh on at lunchtimes only though?

johnJune 8th 2010.

Went a couple of weeks ago with a party of around 40 on a Sunday afternoon. Excellent food, pleasant atmosphere, friendly staff, for £12 I couldn't realy fault it apart from the aforementioned bottled water

MadgexoxJune 8th 2010.

I used to frequent this place quite often as I live in Levenshulme but when it was closed down for health and saftey reasons we stayed away once it re-opened again.
However i might try it again.

There is also a really nice pub down the road from Nawaab, the Fiddlers Green. A lot of Nawaab customers go into the pub before and after their meals to catch up and what they couldn't drink at diner time

1 Response: Reply To This...
TonyJuly 12th 2014.

I agree, avoid is better, as I suffered dysentery after consuming their food, very recently . I even complained, the answer I got was 'we don't care'. I think they need to be reported to the health agency , once again.

HartersJune 8th 2010.

I reckon the food here improved when they stopped serving alcohol. Perhaps,in consequence, there's a much higher ratio of asians to anglos than there used to be.

Buffets are usually awful - lowest common denominator food. But Nawaab tries to be "a cut above". So, dishes are served up in smallish quantities and regularly replaced; the chefs freshly prepare some specialities (lamb chops on my last visit); there's usually dishes that you won't find in most places (like handi with meat on the bone; a good range of veggie dishes; and there's nice little extras - like bowls of chopped coriander for you to sprinkle over your food. Better food than most places in Rusholme, IMO.

sharon1953June 8th 2010.

We have been here a few times, but last time we went they had removed all the little signs over the bowls that told you the Chilli strength of the dish. I love Indian food, but can't eat it too hot, now I find it difficult to avoid the hot dishes without the little "chilli" icons on the dish name plate.

LiamJune 11th 2010.

"there's a much higher ratio of asians to anglos than there used to be"

If you mean in the kitchen, then I'm afraid you are wrong.

If you mean patrons, then I'm very curious as to why that comment is even relevant??

Leigh ScottJune 11th 2010.

Liam - It's clear that Harters comment was not about the kitchen.

The way I read Hatters comment is that the beer drinkers have left and the structure of the menu may have required some change on account of a possible loss in footfall. It's no secret that most Asian communities don't drink alchohol so with an improved menu and lack of pisspots floating around the place it stands to reason, there may be more Asians that Anglos.

I can't stand arseholse who in-directly yet needlessly bring up race allegations in these rants...

Your the sort who sets up a situation so you can take advantage of it catching others of guard. Go and chase an ambulance!

rosieJune 11th 2010.

@ Scotteee......what d'ya mean most Asian communities don't drink alcohol? Last time I looked China and Japan were part of Asia, and there's nothing stopping Hindus from having a wee dram.

AvoJune 11th 2010.

I luuurve a drink...

NortherngeezerJune 13th 2010.

This dont sound like the Nawaab i've been too, only once cos it was so poor, but on the strength of the review and the rants, i'll give it another go.

Paul MastersJune 14th 2010.

No beer no go remember Karims

Leigh ScottJune 14th 2010.

Yes Rosie-very clever

DescartesJune 14th 2010.

Actually in my experience no beer = far better food.

Much of the curry mile does beer, and provides lackluster food to drunks rather than high quality food to diners.

Scott NeilJune 14th 2010.

only been once, was really good.

LeeJune 23rd 2010.

Don't see what all the fuss is about. I found Nawaabs to be really poor. Most of the food was warm rather than hot, too oily and absolute terrible atmosphere to dine in.
My table was opposite a woman who was changing her children into their pyjamas at the table. The staff didn't even ask her to stop. Tables are also too close together andwasn't made to feel welcome. I won't be going back. Manchester has lots of good quality buffet style restaurants to rave about - this isn't one of them. I really am miffed by all the hype around this place.

1 Response: Reply To This...
TonyJuly 12th 2014.

It's a smelly fish market

SylviaSeptember 6th 2011.


1 Response: Reply To This...
TonyJuly 12th 2014.

I completely agree, twice I had food poisoning after eating their take away food......

Samia HussainNovember 14th 2011.

I have been to Nawab on numerous occasions...got to say the quality of food is fantastic and also the variety. However Im not happy about the fact that they dont have the cutlery on the table anymore, like they used to. You have to get your fork and knife when you pick up you plate from the plate rack...Its difficult enough trying to fill your plate up with food using one hand to hold the plate and the other to put it in...plus now you have to hold your fork and knife aswell. Apart from that I enjoy Nawab every time and got to say you cant compare swadish with Nawab...Nawab have twice as more variety... bigger resturant and the food does taste alot nicer.

TonyJuly 12th 2014.

I had an awful experience on their take away food. Raw lamb kebabs and chicken Karachi (was actually not a Karachi), pieces of cheap stake thigh pieces , smelling of rotten food. I was extremely disappointed to see the food I ordered , and having travelled miles to collect was not to standard, Infact was not edible. I called the restaurant straight away, I was shocked by the staffs rude and argumentative response, stating the kebabs are suppose to be pink (raw), and nothing raw with karahi. I asked for not full, but at least half of refund, they refused!!. I was baffled by the response as such a big business , refusing for £10refund and advised me to drive back with food to analyse the food at that time of night 10:30pm!. The manager refused to give names or even name of owner, I wondered why. The next day I had suffered from food poisoning . So for me ,this place is a disgrace.

AnonymousJuly 13th 2014.

Must say the food here was excellent. Really top quality Indian and plenty of unusual dishes that they are happy to make for you there and then. One tip though is to drink something sweet like coke to calm the hot sensation. Water makes it worse.

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