Review: This & That, Manchester's hidden gem The Mancunion

Concealed in a Northern Quarter alleyway, this Indian canteen can be hard to find. However a visit here is well worth the search

At first glance, the exterior of this family-owned cafe can be misleading. Situated in a fairly shabby Northern Quarter backstreet and with only a small sign marking its entrance, it is fair to say that initial appearances were not profound. However, from the first tentative peek into its interior it became apparent that this joint was an incredibly popular, bustling establishment.

They have been serving customers for over thirty years and apparently, the restaurant’s design has not changed much. The décor largely resonates a school canteen. Long communal tables and chairs stretch across the room and a kitchen with a buffet style serving table occupies the far end. It is from this serving counter that the most amazing smells of spices and curries fill up the room and set eager customer’s stomachs rumbling. Impressively, the menu changes daily and encompasses a range of both vegetarian and meat curries.

During the busy lunch period, This & That offers its customers a range of deals including rice and three veg curries £3.90 – rice, two veg and one meat £4.50 – rice, two meat, one veg £5.50 and so on. Impressively, the curries they serve change daily which means you can visit here in any one of your lunch breaks and not grow bored of the menu.

I visited here on a Wednesday and chose the rice, two veg and one meat deal. The options available included a lamb and split pea curry, saag aloo, daal, vegetable biryani, keema (minced meat) and a chicken curry. Spoilt for choice, I was deliberating for quite some time, however, I finally decided on the saag aloo, lamb and carrot curry – their lamb and potato dish had proven so popular they had swapped in the carrot – and the daal. Whilst the presentation of my plate was unsurprisingly sloppy, the portion sizes blew me away! If you want to get more than your money’s worth then This & That is certainly the place to visit.

Before I was served my curries I had greedily also asked for a chapatti to accompany my meal, however upon eating this mound of delicious food I quickly realised that supplements were not necessary to leave feeling full. Nevertheless, the choice of ‘sundries’ the cafe offers are very cheaply priced and deliciously made, so I do recommend. I can not fault any of the curries I tried as they were all delicious and, considering my meal was under five pounds, I was very impressed with the quality.  Therefore, If you are looking for somewhere cheap to eat that’s off the beaten track of the curry mile then This & That is well worth the visit. They are open seven days a week and you can also have your meals to takeaway if you are on the go. Visit their website here to find out more.