I’m a huge lover of Indian food (and food in general, as most of you who read this blog will know!). Recently, I’ve been spending a lot more time in Cheshire and Staffordshire, so when I finally had some time to head back to Manchester last week, I needed a new place to visit for an evening of fine food. In a search for a fresh new Indian, I came across Scene Indian Street Food, nestled at the back of Spinningfields.
I came to Scene on a Friday night at around 8pm, bringing my boyfriend along with me. I have to say I was surprised at how busy it was upon arrival. Those eateries at the bottom end of Spinningfields are so tucked away and away from the main walking routes that its rare you see them as packed out as this place was. Large groups, families, couples… you name it…everyone was seated at Scene (indoors and outdoors) amidst the buzzing atmosphere.
Friendly staff greeted us at the door and took us to our table. My first thoughts was the lovely, dark interior – I could tell instantly that a lot of work has gone into giving this place that authentic Indian feel, with lots of expensive decor and props around the place. Huge painted walls with intricate Indian designs featured, which made me realise it’s randomly a lovely place to just gawp around at!
The cocktail menu was impressive, as I never really associate Indian cuisine with having a complementing cocktail menu. I decided to start off with a Scene Riverside Garden cocktail, laced with gin, lime juice, cucumber syrup, elderflower and apple juice with cooling slices of cucumber and ice. It was the most refreshing start to my Scene experience! I’d like to go back and try the Dhania or the Bombay Bonfire, as they sound very unique, with a kick of spice which would go very well with the cuisine. Anyway, that’s one I can save for next time…
Onto the best bit: the food. Before I start, I just want to say that my starter was by far the most impressive starter I have had at an Indian restaurant to date. I’ve been for many Indian meals – take away or stay in – and I’ve also had various versions of the popular ‘chaat’. But this, hand on heart, amazed me. I could have ate this twice over…
So, the menu is extensive in terms of all courses, and I was very happy to see lots of street food inspired dishes which could be great for sharers or starters. Our waiter actually took some time out to recommend some options for us, as we were a little blown away by the choices. The good thing about this is he just gave us a quick run-down on his own favourites and personal thoughts, but we actually ended up going with them without persuasion. I went for a vegetable ‘Samosa Chaat’ starter, packed with potatoes, peas and chickpeas and topped with yoghurt, mint and tamarind chutney. Mark my words: it was absolutely delicious! It looked like a open lid pie when it arrived, which is slightly bazaar but just incredible. I’d describe is as a lightly fried tortilla base and sides (althought I could be off the mark there), loaded with the yummiest filling. Not too spicy, but full of taste and flavour.
My boyfriend went for the Chicken and Red Pepper Samosas: crisp savoury pastries stuffed with chicken and red peppers, accompanied with chana masala. They certainly looked fabulous, with a side dish of mixed veg and chickpeas. He did feedback saying they were slightly ‘too much pasty’ and not enough filling, but all in all had a real unique flavour. The combination of meat and veg for a samosa filling instead of just having the separate fillings was really refreshing to see. Its rare to find that mixture on a starters menu, and I had a little bite and found them really satisfying.
For my main, I opted for a king prawn curry dish called Tikhey Jhinghey (costing £14.95), which featured juicy king prawns cooked in a tomato and onion masala sauce with mixed peppers, spring onions and coriander. It was super tasty, with a rich spicy red sauce, and the prawns were huge! It certainly had kick – maybe a tad spicy for some – so make sure you like your spice if ordering this. It was a lovely option with the prawns, and tasted slightly more tomato based than a regular masala, with more of a kick too.
My guest went for the Shahi Murgh Tandoori (£11.95), which contained pieces of boneless chicken breast marinated overnight in fresh yoghurt, ginger, garlic, garam masala, chili powder, fenugreek and lemon juice, seared in the tandoor served Hyderabadi sauce. This was a really nice dish, presented with the chicken and spices in a separate dish to the sauce. Lots of onions and chilli’s for flavour. It wasn’t too spicy but with had a full fiery flavour, and also came with rice, whereas I had to order mine as an add on. I’d probably go for this one myself on a re-visit!
Attentive, friendly and helpful service, and an all round warm atmosphere, with a laid back vibe. I noticed there were a lot of large group bookings and parties in, so perhaps it’s a great place to go if there are a few of you looking for a bit of a celebration. Plus, you have all the glamorous bars of Spinningfields on the doorstep, which makes it a great place to kick-start your weekend evening.
Huge thanks to all the staff who really looked after us and advised us of some great food options. I’ve been non stop raving about the Chaat dishes ever since leaving…