Tuesday 19 November 2013

Mhariam, Timperley Altrincham.

It's easy to get stuck in a routine, going to drink and eat in the same old safe places. So us and a couple of friends decided we were going to take a tram from Chorlton to somewhere different for a change for a curry and a few drinks. I suggested Mort Subite in Altrincham and Dilli where we'd been several years ago and enjoyed it. They agreed. Then I consulted twitter and loads of other great suggestions were made, but we'd all set our heart on the Belgian bar. However, the more recent reviews for Dilli were not so favourable with the general view being that it'd 'gone downhill' and it was overly expensive. (It was empty when we walked past on Saturday night which speaks for itself). We went to Altrincham anyway, armed with a list of local curry houses in Hale up the road hoping to 'wing it'.
Gorgeous St Feuillien blond beer.

You can see my earlier post on Mort Subite here. We all loved this dark authentic Belgian cellar bar but after a few very strong beers perhaps all our judgements were clouded on where we were going to eat. We settled on Mhariam a little local Indian restaurant in Timperley we'd been tipped off was good and authentic. It's only a tram stop down the line too and we all wanted to go and visit the new Frank Sidebottom statue nearby. (We were lucky enough to see him perform at Timperley Conservative club only a few years before he died).
It's a bit of a walk from the station and my stomach was demanding immediate gratification. After a quick obligatory photo shoot (arms around the statue etc), we found our recommended restaurant.

First impressions weren't great to be honest, it's not like a proper restaurant at all but more like a glorified take-away in Rusholme but full of drunken white folk (us included). This is obviously not a good thing. The open kitchen was also a mess; bottles of bleach on clear show etc. But it was a BYO which lowers the cost quite a bit so we stocked up at Bargain Booze next door. How bad could it be?
Firstly the service was appallingly poor. Imagine getting any random teenage lads off the tram and having them wait on tables, with no training; it was like that. No friendliness, no charm, no pretence of customer 'service' or warmth. However sometimes the food can be great at places like this. Unfortunately it wasn't.
Strangely though the poppadoms were pretty good, freshly made, warm and crisp, the dips were merely adequate. Starters weren't too bad, the seekh kebab fairly standard, but the lamb chops were underdone and fleshy, which is unusual as they're normally over done. 
The mains though were a very poor show. Out of four dishes, only Mrs B's Rasthani was any good and close to what you might call 'authentic'. The others were all massively over coloured, over flavoured with too much salt and over sweetened in the case of my Makhani. This was truly dreadful, more like a supermarket korma (the curry for people who don't like curries), sickly sweet (even though I'd asked for it madras hot) and bright yellow - it's the worst curry I've eaten in many years. It's like they tweaked every dish to appeal to the lowest common denominator, and the mainly white local crowd with sugar, colouring and salt. This food was like bad dodgy curries of old before they moved with the times.
No need for it to be this colour.

The only decent one.

I have to be honest though we were all having a great time despite the food being mainly awful, obviously we were pissed, but sometimes these sort of nights are really enjoyable precisely because they're so bad. One of the lads asked us how it was - "that was terrible" I said - "is that why you ate it all?" he quipped. (No apology obviously). 

Yes he did have a point there though, I almost sent it back at the beginning, but I just couldn't be arsed and I was so hungry that I would have eaten a scabby horse which would have been preferable. Mrs Bacon had a giggling fit at this point, it was just so bad in every way, the only thing to do was to laugh. We paid up and staggered out to a local pub, where our night would get even more surreal.
This was empty but for a few local 'characters' singing karaoke. One was the spit of Alex Higgins (a few years before he died) and Mark E Smith, but was wearing grey slacks and a cricket jumper draped over his shoulders. I'm well used to places like this from my youth, I am from Stoke after all. But it's been a while.
I was hoping this was all a bad dream and I'd be safely in M21 where we have an array of fantastic bars and a few decent Indian restaurants. Yet here we were in the land that time forgot on a Saturday night. We went with it though and ended up having a right old laugh. My mate got up to do Tom Jones on the karaoke. Deciding it couldn't get any better (or worse) we left (Tom Jones has left the building), for the very long walk back to the tram-stop and eventually the safety of home.
It was genuinely one of the funniest nights we've had in ages and one which I won't forget in a hurry. The curry was totally abysmal though, easily the worst meal of the year with the worst service too. 
I told you we should have gone to Mughli!

Soundtrack: ‪Timperley sunset‬ - ‪Frank Sidebottom‬.

Price: I have no idea. Not overly expensive I guess.
Service: Awful and amateurish.

Atmosphere: Untidy cafe, horrible lighting and scruffy decor.
Food: Worst curry I've had out in some time.
Star dish:
The Rasthani wasn't too bad.
Score: 1/10.

Mhariam on Urbanspoon


  1. Best restaurant review I've read in ages. Hilarious! Sounds like a fab night out though - and I loved the "is that why you ate it" comment!

  2. Your not alone in being 'underwhelmed' at the Mhariam. A few years ago my wife decided we would try somewhere 'different' to our usual & booked a table for 4 at the Mhariam for 7:30 - only to find wne we got there - the place was full, with no signs of anyone leaving soon and the 'manager' disputing our booking time with an outrageous ' People in Timperley don't eat at 7:30 - it's either 7pm or 8pm we take bookings for!' My instant reaction was lets go to our 'usual' Indian where we don't have to listen to bullshit & we know the food is excellent (Jai Kathmandu - Northenden !). I was talked into staying & we eventually got a table at 7:50 pm, whereupon we found it was dry with BYO if you wanted a drink. I wish I had left earlier !! The menu was uninspiring and I couldn't honestly find anything I fancied - being a curry buff for the previous 50 years with a lot of middle eastern domiciled experience of some of the best in the world. The manager came to take our order & I explained my dilemma , experience & a preference for real, authentic asian cuisine. He said he would produce especially for me a unique dish I would like. The meal arrived & sadly for me consisted mainly of peppers (not chillies - peppers of different hues). A taste disaster area for me - my stomach forbids me to eat peppers / cucumbers and the like - or dire consequences ensue. I gave my meal to my wife / friends to share and had a taster from each of theirs. Non-descript is the best i can say to all of them. My one and only visit to the Mhariam. I live in Timperley. I feel similar about the Hilal in the village - visited 2x in 45 years & my opinion didn't change at the 2nd visit. i concur with the authors Dilli comments too.
    If you want a decent Indian meal, forget Rusholme - go to either the Swadesh in Bowdon, The Seven Spices in Cheadle Hulme or the Jai Kathmandu in Northenden - all serve delicious, different food not the usual same tasting dishes made from the same sauce base with different 'heat'.

    1. Thanks for your comment Mike. I'd agree with all but one thing - Mughli in Rusholme is superb and a must try if you've not been lately. Swadesh in Bowdon, The Seven Spices in Cheadle Hulme & the Jai Kathmandu in Northenden are all going on the list, Taa

  3. Thanks for the Mughli tip - must give it a go. Akrams Oasis in Rusholme was good - sadly he went bust.

    1. Best Indian I've been to. Check out my reviews here: http://www.bacononthebeech.com/search/label/rusholme

  4. Sounds like you were unfortunate enough to go to the Stonemasons. If you'd carried on past you could have gone to the Quarry Bank and then headed on down Grove Lane to the Moss Trooper on your way back to the tram station. Loved the review though