It’s more Manchester to Bramhall, but was it worth the journey? Hell yes, says Deanna Thomas

‘Why would I come here to eat, when I can get this food at home?’ Sandeep Gursahani, owner of Bramhall’s newest Indian restaurant, Bombay to Mumbai, was candidly telling us about some of his favourite complaints, the way people can only do when they’re confident about their restaurant. 

Ragada pattice (£5.50) is a street food staple in Gujarat that gets lost in translation as ‘spuds with gravy'

We’d found ourselves in friendly after-dinner conversation. Sandeep had no idea I was there to review, although I had gone in deep under cover, camouflaged by a couple of kids and travel-loving in-laws who know their way round an Indian menu. I can’t tell you if he spends as much time chatting to all his customers, but we bonded over a mutual love of ingredients, recipes and travel.

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Bombay to Mumbai on Fir Road in Bramhall

The guy he’d quoted was inadvertently complimenting Sandeep by touching on the fact that B2M specialises in the kind of delicious cooked dishes that Bombayites are used to, either from street stalls or homesteads. No first generation generic sauces of graduating heats here. Instead you’ll find much more interesting snacks, starters, street foods and sizzlers, many of which I hadn’t come across before.

This turns ordering into a kind of Sophie’s Choice ordeal where beautiful, un-picked dishes are abandoned to an uncertain future, crying in a huddle back in the kitchen. It would take more than one visit to try them all and narrow down your favourites. But in hindsight, those dishes that Sandeep recommended proved to be the best. Put your trust in him.

2019 03 04 Bombay To Mumbai Ragda Pattice
Ragda pattice - Indian spuds and gravy
2019 03 04 Bombai To Mumbai Dal Pakwan
Sindhi dal pakwan (£5.50)

Standouts were ragada pattice (£5.50), a street food staple in Gujarat that gets lost in translation as ‘spuds with gravy’. It’s mashed potato cakes topped with a comforting stew of white peas, drizzled with various sweet, spicy and tangy chutneys to make sure all your taste buds are tagged, then smothered with crispy sev for texture. You’ll lick the plate.

Sindhi Dal (£5.50) sounds like a toy from the 80s, but is actually slow cooked lentils sharpened up by the tang of dry mango powder, tamarind and spices, served with crispy pakwan, deep-fried crisp bread for scooping.

Sandeep gave a very slight shrug when we chose masala dosa (£5.95) because it’s as plain to him as Warburton’s and Lurpak, but anything I’d struggle to make at home, like stuffed placemat-sized crispy pancakes, is special for me.

2019 03 04 Bombay To Mumbai Andra Bhurji
Andra bhurji - Indian egg butty (£5.50)
2019 03 04 Bombay To Mumbai Hanging Chicken
Murgh malai tikka (£5.95) - like a chicken Newton's Cradle

The other cracking ‘I can’t believe it’s veggie’ starter was andra bhurji (£5.50) an egg butty with nobs on, or, as they more delicately put it, ‘spicy scrambled eggs with onion, tomato, chilli, coriander and spices, served with bread roll.’ We also threw in medu vada (£5.50) a spiced savoury lentil doughnut with sambhar and coconut chutney, which might be more of an acquired taste.

For carnivores, I recommend murgh malai tikka (£5.95) well flavoured, tender and served like a meaty Newton’s Cradle executive desk toy. Chicken lollypops (£5.95) are spicy coated chicken wings (Karahi Fried Chicken?) with some substance, and a special starter of puk puk pakoda (£6.25) gave us the chance to try three different bite-sized chicken pakoras. All good.

Pataakha lamb chops (£6.95) properly marinated in ground spices, were awarded the same attention by my ten-year-old as an iPad would, and he didn’t look up until a graveyard of bones remained – it was like watching a positive review in mime.

2019 03 04 Bombay To Mumbai Chicken Lollypops
Chicken lollypops (£5.95)
2019 03 04 Bombay To Mumbai Lamb
Pataakha lamb chops (£6.95)

Mains again were a level above what you’d expect at your average high street curry house. Lamb chamku (£11.95) a semi-dry curry of tender lamb delicately purple-hued from the subtle addition of beetroot – try finding that in your local Taste of India. 

‘Staff curry’ with lamb (£11.95) came with a heat warning. Described as ‘a ferocious coconut based curry to keep our team on toes,’ it was the kind of intensely delicious backstreet dish people in the know like to eat, leaving tourists to their tikkas. 

2019 03 04 Bombay To Mumbai Rumta Jogi Lamb Kofta
Rumta jogi (£6.95)
2019 03 04 Bombay To Mumbai Bharli Vangi Aubergine
Bharli vangi (£8.95)

Rumta jogi (£6.95), lamb koftas tossed in masala sauce and spiced rum, is probably the most you can pimp up a meatball, but even Annie Leibovitz couldn’t make them look gorgeous.

High marks went to an unusual vegetarian main – bharli vangi (£8.95) Apparently, this aubergine dish cooked in spicy peanut sauce is popular at Marathi weddings, which doesn’t surprise me, because after one taste, along with a side of lemon rice (£3.95), I felt like marrying it.

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'This is one of those very special independent places'

We were too full for pudding, but while the grown ups were talking, Sandeep had a hotplate of brownie, chocolate sauce and vanilla ice-cream sent over to occupy the kids (£5.75.) It was a generous, unsolicited touch that enhanced our visit and never made it onto the bill.

As the table was cleared, a realisation descended. This is one of those very special independent places with the same level of hospitality they would show guests in their own home and a deep, deep love of good food. It has the same kind of magic that Cheadle’s Indian Tiffin Room had at the start of their business journey, and I’m looking forward to following Bombay to Mumbai. To be honest, with food like this at these prices, I’d follow them even further. 

Bombay to Mumbai, 10 Fir Road, Bramhall, SK7 2NP

Follow @DeannaThomas on Twitter

2019 03 04 Bombay To Mumbai Receipt

The scores:

All scored reviews are unannounced, impartial, paid for by Confidential and completely independent of any commercial relationship. Venues are rated against the best examples of their type: 1-5: saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9: Netflix and chill, 10-11: if you're passing, 12-13: good, 14-15: very good, 16-17: excellent, 18-19: pure class, 20: cooked by God him/herself.

  • Food 8/10

    Andra bhurgi 7, lamb chops 8, chicken lollypop 7, puk puk pakoda 7, sindhi dal pakwan 9, masala dosa 8, murgh malai tikka 9, ragda pattice 9, rumta jogi 6, lamb staff curry 8, aubergine 9, beetroot lamb 8.

  • Service 5/5

    Like being in Sandeep's house

  • Atmosphere 3.5/5

    Modern touches and clean