No stranger to an Indian, I was excited when I was asked to visit Ziya in Rusholme to try out the Asian restaurant in the middle of the curry mile. We’ve been working our way through Manchester’s many Indian restaurants lately as part of an article for an online magazine i’m working on and when Ziya was suggested (multiple times), we were really looking forward to trying somewhere new.
The restaurant was more modern and clean looking than some of the other venues alongside it, the interior was smart with an open plan kitchen and small bar downstairs. Stepping in from the manic road outside, we were welcomed warmly by a waitress and seated upstairs, overlooking the curry mile.
I’ll admit it, we’d already had a Sunday lunch at an obligatory family birthday meal, and by the time we got there on the Sunday evening we weren’t sure if we could fit any more food in, but the lure of a good Indian meal was just too much. So we ate both.
Although it’s not always true that you can tell how good an Indian is based on it’s poppadom & chutney selection, in this case it was, as a warm basket of crispy goodness arrived at the table, served with fresh chutneys, from standard mango to spicy green chilli and coriander.
We played it safe with the starter, already stuffed from our earlier roast and unsure we were ready for more food, but when it arrived it was demolished immediately. A portion of tender seekh kebabs, and the Tandoori Badshah – what Ziya describe as the king of kebabs. And it was. Spring chicken breast marinated overnight in yoghurt, lemon and mixed spices before being cooked in the tandoori oven.
For the main course we opted for the Chennai Murgh, chicken in a rich hot sauce flavoured with aromatic spices and a hint of coconut, and a chicken biryani. The meat in both dishes was tender and juicy, with the curry having just the right amount of spice to leave a hot aftertaste behind.
The garlic and coriander naan was buttery but still thin and crisp, was light enough to be demolished in one sitting, while the remainders of biryani and curry was taken home for a second sitting. I can confirm it tasted just as good the next day.
The food was on par with, if not even better than some of our favourite Indian restaurants and we’ll definitely be returning again soon.