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Kebabish Reviewed

Simon Binns gets what he's given in a lo-fi mixed grill

Written by . Published on October 4th 2011.

Kebabish Reviewed

THERE are rules to going to kebab shops.

1. Be drunk; 2. No entry before midnight; 3. That's it.

So 1pm on a scorching Wednesday lunchtime, stone cold sober, was not the most obvious time for me to be going to Kebabish in the Northern Quarter, but it was an alternative suggestion for a lunch meeting, so there I was.

As I went in and approached the counter, I spotted Simon Bate, the chair of New East Manchester, enjoying a chicken tikka. Maybe he was scoping it out as a lunch venue for the next time Sheikh Mansour is over at Manchester City. Or maybe not.

First impressions? The place is a bit mental. Erratic. Sparse.

The very small menu is on an even smaller blackboard on the wall, with the daily offerings written in minescule handwriting, half of which had wiped off.

Potato and pepper curryPotato and pepper curry

It didn't matter too much to be honest, because after hanging around the hatch between the basic dining room and the kitchen for far too long, we were told pretty much everything had gone apart from chicken kebab, lamb kebab and a potato and pepper curry.

So that was lunch decided.

I spotted a tray of small bhajis and pakoras on a tray, so I grabbed a portion of each while I waited. The bhajis were like rubbery golf balls and the pakoras devoid of taste. I smothered them in yoghurt sauce to minimise the disappointment.

The lamb kebab and the bowl of curry were first to arrive. Both were simple but effective. The kebab was delicately flavoured and hot off the grill while the curry was fragrant and spicy, but not too oily.

The chicken took a while to arrive and looked lonely when it did, just nuggets of meat on a plate with no accompaniment. It was the dish that said the most about Kebabish - simple, no frills but all in all, pretty decent and honest.

I asked for a bit of iceberg-laden salad on the side, which I didn't eat. I never do. Does anyone? It had to be there though. It looks wrong not to have it on your plate, like a bucket with no spade.

Chicken tikka kebabChicken tikka kebab

The chicken was tender, with a strong but pleasing tikka flavour and the freshly made to order naan bread was light and soft and was manna from heaven for a man who has largely stayed away from carbs for two months.

Two tubs of ice cream from the fridge were more remarkable for the fact that the listed ingredients on the back came to more than 100 per cent - I think my pistachio tub had 112 per cent of ice cream in it, so I suppose you can't knock that for value.

And that's Kebabish all over. The whole lunch was £13.80 and although the man serving us barely looked us in the eye for ten minutes when we first arrived and wanted attention, he was chatty and engaging to the point of not wanting to let us go when we'd paid.

Kebabish is at the opposite end of the Northern Quarter to Hunter's and probably at the other end of the scale when it comes to choice and the unsteady buzz a kebab shop can have. But it's worth a visit anyway, because although it's ultra-basic, it has an unpredictable charm all its own.

You can follow Simon Binns on @simonbinns

ALL SCORED CONFIDENTIAL REVIEWS ARE IMPARTIAL. £1000 to the reader who can prove otherwise, and dismissal for the staff member who wrote a review scored out of twenty on a freebie from the restaurant.

49 Hilton Street, Manchester; 0161 236 5753

Rating: 12/20
Food: 7/10
Service: 3/5
Atmosphere: 2/5


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: Gordo gets carried away.

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

TrevorOctober 4th 2011.

Love the place

AnonymousOctober 4th 2011.

Not too oily? That Soup Potato and Pepper curry looks oilier than Peter Andres Hair!

1 Response: Reply To This...
Simon BinnsOctober 4th 2011.

That's what I thought, but it was just surface oil. A quick stir and it was dandy.

AnonymousOctober 4th 2011.

I live around the corner on Tariff St and really want to go in and try Kebabish, but it's never open when I walk past. Does anybody know the opening times?

the Whalley RangerOctober 4th 2011.

The interior reminds me of Da Vinci's Pizza Restaurant in the financial district - is this Manchester's Wall Street equivalent?

NorthernGeezerOctober 4th 2011.

Try Chappati Corner, 100 yards down the road....unbelievable food!

Catherine HeatonOctober 4th 2011.

loved my "secret" kebeb at lunch time when I worked down there. great place and food.

AnonymousOctober 5th 2011.

Have you been in Leo's Fish Bar since its make over? Brilliant, copious, fresh, tasty food. You should review them.

AnonymousOctober 31st 2011.

i love the food there! Indian food isn't classed as Indian food if it's not got oil in! So if u want something else go sowheere else! Simon u obviously dot has good taste! U surely get paid to fakeyour review! I go in every lunch time with all my fellow workers and we love it! Never had a bad experience! Love he place!

1 Response: Reply To This...
Simon BinnsOctober 31st 2011.

Careful there Anon; that's libel and highly sue-able...I'll take an apology or I'll be sending you a letter.

AnonymousOctober 31st 2011.

Love the kebab naan salad wraps! So tasty!

AnonymousOctober 31st 2011.

Lovely food!!!!!! Great staff!!!! You pay for quality and thats what you get here!!!!! I would highly recommend this take away to everyone. Just to clarify to people who have never cooked Indian food... without the oil there is no curry!!!!!!!

AnonymousOctober 31st 2011.

Daal and boiled rice!!!!! Wow never tasted anything better!!!!

AnonymousOctober 31st 2011.

Love the food, great staff, great place!!!!

Simon BinnsOctober 31st 2011.

Anon, you work there/know the family. At least be subtle about it. Posting five comments one after the other is hardly that.

1 Response: Reply To This...
IzzyNovember 2nd 2011.

With an obvious proliferation of !!!!!!!!!

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