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Tibetan Kitchen Reviewed

Jonathan Schofield finds the Himalayas on Upper Chorlton Road

Written by . Published on March 24th 2014.

Tibetan Kitchen Reviewed

NEVER having been to Tibet I can't really vouch for the authenticity of this latest addition to the Manchester A-Z of cuisines. But I do know that both the chefs are Tibetan and that I liked their grub.

The momos and the distinctive balance of spices and herbs, makes Tibetan Kitchen worth a visit

Occupying a small ex-shop unit on Upper Chorlton Road in Old Trafford I stumbled on this place a couple of weeks ago but only got to visit it last week. I stumbled on it because it's round the corner from where I live. I love it when the story comes to the writer.

InsideInsideTibetan Kitchen is a cute place with a tiny communal dining area all bright colours representing Tibetan costumes and prayer flags.

It struck me how import cuisines go heavy on cultural references that might be familiar to the host nation.

Then, the next generation of owners change the design motifs to those of the host nation with maybe just one or two subtle cultural references.

At some point it all reverts and the cycle begins again. In Britain there's the same span with pub interiors, trad, modern, trad. 

Musing on this and reading the handy Rough Guide to Tibet from the handy pile of reading material got me through the twenty minutes wait on a busy Friday evening. 

I'd gone for take-away so excuse the tinfoil pictures here. 

I began Tibetan traditional with momos.

These are a species of dumpling of 'handcrafted stuffed steamed wheat flour'. The beef ones at £4 for five were lovely, rich, succulent, satisfying; the meat very present, tangy and herby. The mixed vegetable momos at £4 were odd, with a bitter, cloying taste I couldn't place. Veggie friends of mine agree, they're a challenge - the momos not the friends. Then again...

Momos in a takeaway box

Momos in a takeaway box

The phingsha (£6) a herby beef and potato stew was fabulous (main picture). Straightforward, wholesome and enjoyable. I wanted twice the portion despite the big meaty chunks. The chicken dish, the shasha (£6.50), a stir fry with peppers, good spicy heat, delivered uplifting, nimble flavour.

A fulfilling little collation this one, oily good not oily bad and at £6.50 was, as is the norm here, good value. Being takeaway, this was the dish the middle son and the youngest fought over at home. I told them the Dalai Lama wouldn't approve. They don't have llamas in the Himalayas, said the youngest. 

Lovely stew with big meaty lumpsLovely stew with big meaty lumps

Watery and loose lentilsWatery and loose lentilsThe basmati rice that came with the dishes was lumpy when it could have been light. The lentil dish, the semthuk (£4.50), was the opposite, loose when it could have been sturdier. 

The pudding on offer was Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding from the extreme west of Tibet in a region called Cumbria. I didn't bother because I had some of the same in my fridge.

Tibetan Kitchen began as a mobile catering van (called 'the Yak') at festivals and 'street-food' extravaganzas.

Now the couple (he Tibetan, she British) who own the business have found a permanent home in that part of Old Trafford that thinks itself more Whalley Range or Chorlton. They still do weddings, events and special occasions should you fancy the food. 

Clearly Tibetan cuisine is influenced by China and India but the points of difference, the momos and the distinctive balance of spices and herbs, makes Tibetan Kitchen worth a visit.

Right, dear restaurateurs and take-away owners, who's going to move down the road next. 

I fancy a bit of something from Central America. We don't seem to have much from Honduras in the city. 

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter @JonathSchofield or connect via Google+ 


Tibetan Kitchen, 254 Upper Chorlton Road, Old Trafford, M16 0BN. 0161 881 1966.

Rating: 13/20 (remember venues are rated against the best examples of their type - see yellow box below)

Food: 7/10 (momo meat 7, momo veg 6, semthuk 6, phingsha 7, shasha 7.5)
Service: 3/5  
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.

A light in the nightA light in the night

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TcMarch 24th 2014.

Part of Whalley Range's developing 'Himalayan District'* *also includes The Hilary Step

1 Response: Reply To This...
Ken DoddMarch 24th 2014.

Ah yes, the best joke so far this week.

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