Monday, 15 February 2016

Ziya Asian Grill, Rusholme

I first dined at Ziya Asian Grill (opposite Mughli) not long after they opened (a couple of years ago) – at the time I thought it was “all fur coat and no knickers” – whilst the food was beautifully presented, I felt it lacked the quality it promised.

Fast forward a couple of years – they have changed chefs, menus and cut the prices. They’ve also been regular contributors to the @notjustsoupMCR initiative, where independent restaurants take it in turns to provide food for Manchester’s homeless and those in need. Time for a second chance.

Overall, I found the food had improved and certainly seemed greater value for money. That said, it’s still not got the quality to truly excite me.

As for “pros”, Ziya’s main draw has always been its glitzy setting; service is friendly and efficient; and everything was well cooked (batters crisp, meat tender etc.) – the lamb chops were particularly good.

To my mind, what Ziya serve are good examples of what I’d call “English curries” – dishes that are a little sweet with “foggy and fuddled” spicing. I’m not talking heat here, but a clarity, vibrancy and gutsiness that is all too often missing in many curry houses. 

For the best curry in Manchester, I’d still rather hit up one of the “curry cafes” on Cheetham Hill and alike.

Poppadum, Chutneys & Cocktails

Paneer Tikka – a spiced paneer & vegetable “kebab”, cooked in the tandoor

Dina Bites – gram flour battered jalapeno chillies filled with cumin & cheese

Corn Cheese Tikki – pan fried patties of mashed sweetcorn, potato & cheese mixed with herbs, garnished with tamarind & yoghurt sauce

Peshwari Lamb Chops

Prawn Tempura – tiger prawn in a spiced batter

Methi Murgh – chicken curry cooked with fenugreek leaves

Gobi Masala – cauliflower

Paneer Lazeez – paneer in a creamy onion & tomato sauce

Bhindi Bhaji – okra with cumin seeds, whole red chillies, tomato & coriander

Malabar Fish Curry – a Keralan curry with coconut, turmeric, mustard seeds & chillies.

Chilli Garlic Naan & Parath Paratha

I didn’t have a dessert as they were the usual uninspiring selection.

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