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Image © Pille-Riin Priske on Unsplash

Manchester’s Top Five Curry Cafes

12 November 2019 | Sam Waller

From ironic junk food to elaborate twelve course taster menus, the city of Manchester is rife with gimmick-heavy food establishments vying for your attention. But amongst all this nonsense lies a true unsung wonder which has been quietly serving up lunch in Manchester since the 1980s - the curry cafe.

Not to be confused with the glitzier curry houses of Manchester, these places are more basic, day-time eateries which trade in what’s known as ‘rice and three’. Without insulting your intelligence too much, this is three curries of your choice, served up on a big pile of rice. Other options are on the menu, but for a quick, no-nonsense meal, you can’t go wrong with the old classic. When it comes to these spots, everyone seems to have their favourite, but to be honest, they’re all pretty decent and it’s hard to wrong with any of ‘em. For the sake of brevity, here’s five that stand out. 

This and That
3 Soap Street, Manchester, M4 1EW

At the top, is This and That. Details are a bit hazy, but this place is generally referred to as the originator of the ‘rice and three’ concept - and has been serving up fine, reasonably priced cuisine since the mid-80s. The original family behind this place moved on a while ago to open up the aptly titled Rice ’n’ Three in Bolton, but This and That is still a cracking spot for lunch. It’s probably worth mentioning that this isn’t the easiest spot to find, but if take a left at Trof on Thomas Street you shall be rewarded.


Image credit:  Marhaba Cafe Manchester via Facebook
Marhaba
36 Back Piccadilly, Manchester, M1 1HP

Marhaba is another one hidden down an unassuming side-street - this time on Back Piccadilly just around the corner from clutter-filled oddity wonderland Empire Exchange (which is definitely worth a look if you’ve got time to kill and like trawling through piles of old magazines). Marhaba has been around since the early 90s (as proven by that outdated Manchester area code on the sign), and is a firm favourite with rail workers due to it’s close proximity to Piccadilly Station. It also fills up pretty fast as there’s only about eight seats in the place. If you can get a table you’re in for a treat as the naan bread is a true delight. 

Mughali Taste
53 Bury New Road, Manchester M8 8FX

Whilst most of these cafes are located around the Northern Quarter, this relatively unsung gem is found just out of town on the infamous Bury New Road. Known to some as the ‘vape quarter’ due to the high density of E-liquid outlets in the area, this is the place to go if you’re hankering for discount fireworks, phone chargers and knock-off trainers. Questionable retail establishments aside, Mughali Taste is a fine eatery that many people regard as the finest curry place in the North West.


Image credit: Little aladdin vegan cafe via Facebook
Little Aladdin’s
72 High Street, Manchester, M4 1ES

Little Aladdin’s has been around for a while, but it recently cooked up a curveball by becoming a fully vegan establishment. This basically means that as well as serving all manner of veg curries, it also does things like tofu wraps, falafel and vegan cheese on chips. And, if you’re wondering why the man behind the till is always shouting orders down at his feet… it’s because the kitchen is located down a hatch in the floor. It sounds daft, but this has confused a lot of people.

Kabana
52 Back Turner Street, Manchester, M4 1FP

And finally, here’s a classic reliable favourite - Kabana. Like the nearby Yadgars, this one is a real no fuss curry cafe. It’s easy to find, it’s got plenty of seats and there’s plenty on the menu. Pour yourself a glass of complimentary table water and get stuck in. 
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