"They Say It's The Beating Heart Of Curry Mile, So We Decided To Put It To The Test"
I've always been a fan of Indian food, whirling my way through Jalfrezi after Madras after Tikka skillet as though there's an impending apocalypse. And what better way to put Manchester's offering to the test than a trip down Curry Mile?
A laid-back venue, Rusholme favourite Spicy Mint is known for its bespoke curries and sizzling shashliks which are, in true Indian style, lovingly flambéed at the table.
Don't get me wrong, the interiors leave a lot to be desired. It looks a bit like your nan's living room mid-January when she's forgotten to take down the 50's Christmas decorations, but the alluring smell more than made up for the questionable aesthetics.
Besides, it was late on a quiet Thursday evening and I was in no mood to keep up any airs and graces necessary in restaurants obsessed with silver spoon-style dining.
I was hungrier than usual, so ordered a side of pakoras to accompany the main. I opted for the chicken, and while the meat was nicely cooked, the 'spicy' batter didn't have the promised kick so I was a little disappointed. Still, by no means bad quality and, served with a fresh little side salad and spiced natural yogurt it made a pleasant and surprisingly filling precursor to the curry which followed.
I chose the medium-spiced 'Sultani' from Spicy Mint's traditional speciality Pakistani dishes, and, a sucker for anything which sounds a little unusual, I opted for the Ananas pineapple and mushroom rice over plain basmati or pilau.
The Sultani is a nut-lovers ideal, packed with chopped almonds, cashews and coconut as well as fresh garlic and ginger - finished with a sprinkling of sultanas and a dash of fresh cream. It is an innovation of a dish which in my opinion, kicks the classic kormas ass.
It was the perfect warming dinner for a cold and miserable January evening after a stressful day and the nutty richness stayed in my memory long after the taste had left my mouth.
Not one if you're calorie-counting, but if this is the case and you're staying strong, Spicy Mint do have a tempting selection of flambe sizzlers (just mind those eyebrows) with fish, king prawns, chicken or lamb (both tikka and shashlik-style) and it is, according to their menu, "recommended for weight watchers."
All of the curries are knocking around the ten quid mark, which doesn't include rice (it's an extra £2.40 for plain pilau) and the traditional breads such as parathas, rotis and naans range from £2-4 depending on your choice.
Considering the quality and generous portion sizes, I thought the prices were very reasonable - mine totalled just over £15 for a beast of a feast for one and I was so stuffed I felt like an escaped Christmas turkey.
100% Halal, delicious and with a prime location barely more than a 5-minute drive outside of the city centre, I'll definitely be returning for my Saturday night take-out fix.
Spicy Mint is open Monday - Thursday 5pm - 12am, Friday 5pm-1am, Saturday 4pm - 1am and Sunday 3pm - 12am.
For more information and delivery queries you can visit the website here.