I don’t think we’ve ever been to a restaurant on its first night, preferring to let things settle down a bit before a visit. But this place offered something new and we really didn’t want to wait. So, what’s new, I hear you ask. Well, what they offer is traditional Mumbai street food. And that’s definitely new for South Manchester/North Cheshire.
I liked the menu. No, I mean the actual menu. Not just the food offerings. Spread over several pages, it’s designed almost as a magazine with the various food sections interspersed with short articles about Mumbai , its food and its culture. It’s not the only thing which has seen considerable thought being given. There’s comfortable, modern furnishings. And very contemporary crockery and cutlery. And, in another move away from your high street curry house, most of the servers are young women and, indeed, not just women from an Asian heritage. It really all was rather promising.
There were mini pappads to start – a single bite of crisp pastry topped with tomato & onion. And chutneys, of course – excellent tomato and coriander ones, along with a more classic mango and a yoghurt based raita.
Then on to the street food which replaces much of the usual starter section. There was a vada pav - or spicy potato barmcake as we’d say in these parts. Yes, pretty much just that. Really nicely spiced potato – turmeric, I think and mustard seeds and a little background chilli heat. It’s served up on a soft bread roll. I’d not eaten it before and really enjoyed it – it’s a little dry and needs balancing with a dollop or two of the chutneys. The spiciest thing on the menu is misal pav – a lentil based curry to which is added noodles, etc such as you might get in a Bombay mix. It gives it an interesting crunch. A cracker of a dish.
For mains, one of us ordered aloo gobi – and it was good version of the Punjabi classic. A definite “bite” left to the cauliflower and good assertive saucing, which seemed to have a slight edge of sweetness. Chicken Malvani originates from the coastal region, south of Mumbai (so Google tells me). Still moist chicken, a good gravy, well rounded in its spicing with nothing overly aggressive. There was also a very decent tarka dahl which hadn’t been cooked within a inch of its life. Lemon rice was superb. Tandoori roti were perfect – nice & crisp round the edges, just as they should be.
So, a really good meal. Service suffered a tad from first night jitters – for one server it was her first night of working in any restaurant. But she’ll be fine – she has the great gift of a very natural smile. I really wish them well in this new venture – we’re ready for more of this traditional, regional food and Aamchi Mumbai is going to be a very worthy competitor for the other similarish places in the SK8 postcode – places like the Indian Tiffin Room and Seven Spices. Yep, we liked it a lot.