Tuesday 5 March 2013

The Great Kathmandu, West Didsbury.

Some people may think that being a 'foodie' means that you're only into posh food. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most food bloggers like food at every level. I know I do. There are some days when only beans on toast will do, others (hangover days) when a beef flavoured Monster Munch sandwich (on trashy white) is just the ticket. There are those times when only a curry will do. And there are other days when only a Makhan Chara from The Great Kathmandu on Burton Road is what I need, and absolutely must have.

The old restaurant.
You see I've being going there since the early 90's, so I guess that makes it 20 years. I've been eating pretty much the same dish in that time, The Makhan Chara or Butter Chicken. I've never found another restaurant that replicates this dish in the same way apart from a place where a former Kathmandu chef opened up on the same street Namaste Nepal, so it's essentially the same dish.  I've tried many Makhani variations in Indian restaurants, but they either make it sweet like a Korma or just bland. This dish is rich, creamy and spicy. So what follows is less of a restaurant review, and more of a review of my favourite dish and the meal I'd have as my last one should I be a condemned man.
A few years ago The Great Kathmandu extended premises into the old video shop and since then it's been more popular than ever. I still recognise some of the old faces, the manager and waiters from the 90's. Me and Mrs Bacon turned up early on Saturday evening. I'd been drinking Belgian beer all afternoon, so I knew that this would be perfect to soak up all the alcohol.
We ordered a jug of Mango Lassi and the Poppadoms and dips. Strangely, despite it being my favourite Indian/Nepalese, the poppadoms are crap, and always have been. They have holes in them for a start, letting all the yogurt filter through. The sauce pots are too small as well, so we always ask for more.

For starters we sometimes have the Paneer Chilli: Cottage cheese with green chillies, peppers & spice (£7.75) which are good, but on this occasion we order half a portion of Tandoori Chops; Tender lamb chops cooked in oriental herbs over charcoal (£4.25.) You can really taste the charcoal flavour, something that I've never seen quite as good elsewhere.
Tandoori Chop. The other one was eaten before I could photograph it.

Also my old favourite of 20 years standing, the Seekh Kebab: Minced lamb seasoned with eastern herbs cooked on skewers over charcoal (1/2 £3.95.) I drench it in yogurt as usual.
Seekh kebab.

Then comes the Pièce de résistance The Makhan Chara; Diced boneless chicken seasoned in butter with tomatoes and fresh cream (£7.95)

We've had variations over the years, including the Makhanwala with various meats in it, but this is still the best for us. The charcoal taste of the chicken (always better than most other Indian restaurants) and that amazing sauce. It is beautifully creamy with a Heinz tomato soup comforting element about it, but with just a little spice as well. We both order the same thing. This is just too precious to share.

It's just so delicious, I just eat it with a spoon, or put a load of it in the Garlic Nan (with real garlic pieces not powder.)

I'm not sure the nans are quite as good they once were, but the sauce hasn't changed a bit. I have no idea what any other dishes are like, I never order them, I just cannot resist this dish. Like I said, if I had a choice, it's be my last meal on earth.
The new part.

Price: A reasonable £35 for two with no alcohol. 
(If I'm drinking beer I always drink their own Kathmandu lager.)
Service: Ok.
Atmosphere: Always busy.
Food: Very Good. (well my dish is anyway.)
Star dish: MAKHAN CHARA. 

Score: 9/10

140 Burton Rd, West Didsbury,
Manchester M20 1JQ

Great Kathmandu on Urbanspoon


  1. I love their poppadoms! But I can see what yr saying about the holes.
    This review made me laugh because Jamie always goes on about their butter chicken... I might have to try it on my next visit!

  2. I tried the Lamb Chops and Chicken Makhanwala at Namaste Nepal this week. My first curry outside Manchhester City Centre.
    I too enjoyed the smokey charcoal flavour of the chicken against the sweet tomato sauce.
    I might try Great Kathmandu on my next venture to Didsbury, but a burger in Chorlton is on the 'to do' list.