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Sindhoor Restaurant Reviewed

Andy Loynes loves a South Indian specialist in Whitefield

Published on November 28th 2012.

Sindhoor Restaurant Reviewed

AUTHENTICITY. It’s a powerful yet dubious quality.

Sindhoor provided again another engaging, lively and very pleasant experience. I have no reservations whatsoever in highly recommending this unpretentious and great value suburban gem

Rock world wisdom decrees we should value, say, the lifeless indie churnings of the toilet-circuit toiled Vaccines over and above the manufactured confection of, say, Girls Aloud’s sublime Love Machine. This, as my example demonstrates beyond all reason, is nonsense.

And yet the power of the A word cannot be denied.

It explains, for example, why, on returning once more to Whitefield’s Sindhoor, an eaterie I much admire, I ordered the chicken brown stew.

That title didn’t sound too appealing but it was, the menu assured me, an authentic South Indian dish. It was also easily the worst of the four mains we ordered on the review visit. This continued a long and irritating tradition of mine, that of not choosing as well as my fine dining companion. On the plus side the dish was far from a disaster as Sindhoor is far from your average Indian. Oh and I decreed that we were sharing.

But let’s start at the beginning. We first visited this friendly little restaurant, which sits opposite Slattery’s on the otherwise unappealing Bury New Road, when it opened around a year ago. It immediately charmed with its South Indian cuisine both different from and of a higher calibre than your average ‘Indian.’

Sindhoor dishesSindhoor dishes

The staff were helpful to the point of lunacy on that first occasion. When I tried to pay by card they apologised because they hadn’t yet installed the machine. “You can pay us next time,” said the obliging if foolhardy waiter.

His confidence we would return was well placed. We have been back on several occasions.

On our last visit we’d watched as a couple from Delhi advised the rest of their table what to order and glanced enviously as a succession of intriguing dishes emerged from the kitchen. I consoled myself that I had at least been mildly more adventurous than in the past and been rewarded by a momentous dosa, a light-as-a-feather rice and lentil pancake which enveloped a gently spiced and tender chicken masala. At £6.95 it was also an absolute steal.

This time we kicked off with a couple of trusted staples. The devilled chicken (£4.75), a dish of equal fire and tang, is fantastic. The chicken, offering both appropriate texture and tenderness, is accompanied by crunchy capiscum and onions, with curry leaves dominant in peppery spicing that offers more kick than a Scholes’ tackle.

Three small, succulent char-grilled Mysore lamb chops (£5.75) are not just decently charred but brilliantly flavoured courtesy of a marinade strong on cumin, garam masala, ginger and what seems to be five spice although that’s surely geographically misplaced. Who cares? It’s so good I find myself cleaning the plate with my finger. I’m not alone. You don’t do that sort of thing at Sanmini’s, the borough of Bury’s other South Indian eatery, a fine but somewhat serious institution. 

My partner’s main of grilled pomfret pollichathu (£8.50) arrives to much gnashing of teeth - well mine anyway – and impromptu salivation. It’s immediately apparent this is the dish of the night. It comes wrapped in banana leaves, enabling some on table theatricality as She Who Orders Best unpacks a gloriously white, flaky fish which has been marinated in ginger, chilli, curry leaves and other spices, before hitting the skillet. The fish falls easily from sturdy bones and, as the lady eagerly points out, tastes of the sea.

Pomfret - perfectPomfret - perfect

I mutter darkly to myself as I tackle the brown stew (£6.95), a coconutty broth not a million miles away from a korma. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just not as good or as interesting as other dishes we’ve previously encountered in this small and simply furnished dining space.  

Our dining colleagues ensure a return to form as the female of the pair chooses chicken chettinadu (£6.95), a Tamil dish which marries tender fowl with a thick, creamy sauce, well spiced with hints of fennel, coriander and a good hit of curry leaves.

Another generous bowl for the male of the two was filled with a similarly rich Malabar lamb masala (£7.25) that also works well. The lamb – so often a jaw challenging let down in Indian restaurants – while not quite fitting the melt-in-the-mouth cliché is nonetheless pleasingly giving.

To accompany we opted for chappathies (£3 for two), appam (£3 for two) – a pancake-like aerated bread made from fermented rice flour – and mildly zesty lemon rice (£4.25). We washed the whole down with the frankly unexceptional and somewhat tart house red (£12.95).

Wine and stew aside, Sindhoor provided again another engaging, lively and very pleasant experience. I have no reservations whatsoever in highly recommending this unpretentious and great value suburban gem.

We’ll be back and back soon because we’ve still got a good bit of unexplored culinary territory to chart.  With these fine people currently offering a three course lunch for just £6.99 there's little excuse for not giving Sindhoor a whirl. 

You can follow Andy Loynes on Twitter here @Andyloynes


Sindhoor, 178a Bury New Road, Whitefield, M45 6QF. 0161 796 7963.  Also at 198-200 Mauldeth Road, Burnage, M19 1AJ.

Rating: 14/20 

Food: 7/10
Service: 4/5
Ambience: 3/5

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.


Sindhoor specialsSindhoor specials

More Sindhoor foodMore Sindhoor food

Sindhoor noshSindhoor nosh

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

SimonNovember 28th 2012.

Damn you, Man. Con. reviewer. We'll never be able to get in again now but, what the hell....

...I'll add the paratha is the most delicious Indian bread ever; like a kind of puff-pastry chappati. The prawn Moilly is superb; the Karumba (sp?) is equally too. In fact, we haven't chosen a bad dish in several visits.

My only criticism is that the service is a bit amateurish but you call it 'helpful', I suppose!

GordoNovember 28th 2012.

WTF do the first two paras mean? <--reaching for the asprin

GordoNovember 28th 2012.

and the third...

1 Response: Reply To This...
miss jeeNovember 29th 2012.

on re-reading - yes - i agree. what did it all mean?

GordoNovember 28th 2012.

Apart from that, a bloody well tooled up review Andy ;-)

Andy LoynesNovember 28th 2012.

Sorry Simon, one of those "best kept secrets" ruined. Complain to Leveson. We'll both keep schtum about the local celebs and top chefs who frequent it though?

Yes, they do a mean paratha too. I've always found the service great - particularly so on the last visit as we pummelled them with questions. Any bugger that trusts me to "pay next time" is perhaps a bit amateurish though.

Gordo will be pleased to hear my partner agrees on the opening paras but only because she really doesn't think there's any place for the word "toilet" in a restaurant review.

1 Response: Reply To This...
GordoNovember 29th 2012.

:-) Gordo likes her

AnonymousNovember 29th 2012.

Nice one. Please can you do more reviews in Salford, Stockport, Oldham, Rochdale, not just the city centre and trendy southern suburbs?

3 Responses: Reply To This...
GordoNovember 29th 2012.

ok anon, give us some suggestions...

MaggieNovember 29th 2012.

Errrrr, Whitefield is very proudly in North Manchester

William Alan WrightDecember 3rd 2012.

Try Mr Alis small restaurant on Middleton Road near Sheepfoot Lane adjacent to the petrol station, dont think you will be disappointed.

MahindaNovember 29th 2012.

As a big fan of the Burnage Sindhoor, I was intrigued to read about its more northern sister, esp. now that the bottom of the article confirms that they're related.

The one in Burnage used to be absolutely top notch -- authentic and very very tasty. Don't tell my mum I wrote this, but the lamb pepper fry and the beef varattiyathu were two of the tastiest dishes I've ever had.

Unfortunately, a little over a year ago, the staff at Burnage seemingly changed entirely. The waiters are now a bit, well, smarmy (having previously managed just the right balance between leaving you to it and being on hand to help). The menu has changed a bit, and the food just isn't the same. It's still good, but I've stopped telling everyone I know about it.

If the old chef has gone to Bury, I'd better hit the M60!

Doctor QNovember 29th 2012.

It's a nice place to go for an Indian and better than any of the ones located in Prestwich, near where I live.

I wonder if you wouldn't mind going to review the Buddha Lounge just further up into Whitefield, have fancied going but a review by Andy or Gordo would be useful.

Vikki FranksNovember 29th 2012.

DoctorQ - the buddha lounge is fantastic

2 Responses: Reply To This...
paulsouthernNovember 29th 2012.

I'll 2nd that

Louise MaddisonNovember 30th 2012.

I will 3rd that!

Doctor QNovember 29th 2012.

Thanks Vikki. Has it been reviewed in the past on here or is that a personal recommendation ?

FoodLover1November 29th 2012.

Just let ALL the fans of great Indian food know, I've heard there is a new place opening in Cheadle in the new year! I can't wait as they will be doing Dosa's and plenty of other great Sounth Indian dishes - yum!!

5 Responses: Reply To This...
pollolocoNovember 30th 2012.

Cheadle already has the superb seven spices.

FoodLover1November 30th 2012.

But they only do North Indian cuisine, which is very different...!

FoodLover1November 30th 2012.

But they only do North Indian cuisine like the majority of all 'Indian' restaurants, but this one will be doing South Indian too..! And it's very different =)

pollolocoNovember 30th 2012.

I know...however its a class act amongst many substandard Indian restaurants. Looking forward to the new place opening though. Went to a South Indina place in Northenden a few months back...not impressed at all.

IanNovember 30th 2012.


And how are you affiliated?

AnonymousNovember 29th 2012.

Momentum in Westhoughton is really good alternative to trekking into Manchester if Bolton/Wigan based

Paul CarterNovember 30th 2012.

FYI the Budda Lounge is AWFUL

1 Response: Reply To This...
Bilbo BobbinsDecember 3rd 2012.

that sounds a bit harsh Paul?

Maria SaleMarch 12th 2013.

Went here on Saturday, on the strength of this review, but the kitchen was in meltdown, and we got our mains over 2 hours after sitting down: some people were waiting even longer. The manager did nothing but waft around smiling, and left the 2 sixth-form waiters to offer repeated embarrased apologies. We were told it was a last-minute isolated problem, but talking to other customers and to others later it seems to be not uncommon at the weekend. They will lose a lot of customers this way. We were beyond enjoying the mains when they came.

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