The Northern Quarter is famous for it's 'rice n three' cafes. This is Indian food but not as you know it. These are basic, no frills, cafe type establishments that serve up a selection of different currries for a cheap price - usually in the region of £3-5 for a big plate of food. They cater for a lunchtime crowd and most don't stay open past 6pm. These curry cafes are huddled around Thomas Street and High Street but the one that everybody raves about is This n That, hidden away down a dingy back alley called Soap Street.
|Spinach/potato, kidney beans/new potatoes, dhal.|
I have to confess that due to my chilli allergy, I haven't eaten at This n That. But the Curry cafe's are so iconic of the Northern Quarter I had to feature them, so I sent my partner Matt out to sample the food. To be honest this wasn't hard as he eats there at least once a week, sometimes more! Here's what he said
Matt writes : 'This n that' is not just my favourite curry place in Manchester, it's my favorurite anywhere. I've eaten amazing Indian/Pakistani/Bengali food all over the world (including India) and I'd put this place up against any of the rest.
|Cabbage, chana and mixed veg|
One downside for some people is that it's hard to judge heat. Some of the curries are fiercly hot but mostly they are mild and full of flavour, but you never quite know what you're going to get. That's also part of the attraction!
This is a lunchtime place, so although it opens late it's best to go at lunchtime when the food is hot and fresh, otherwise you might just be getting warmed up leftovers. There's no table service. You queue up, choose from the pots and they dish it out there and then. A bit like school dinners. But the staff are friendly and they do understand vegan, so don't be afraid to ask if you're unsure. The only things I've seen that are not vegan (apart from the meat dishes) are the Naan Breads, the Raita (yoghurt) and the potato patties.
So I think we can safely say that Matt enjoyed his trip to This n That. The curry cafes really are an established part of the Northern Quarter's foodie scene and no trip to Manchester is complete without a trip to one.