Now you can enjoy a traditional Desi curry, on either side of town
One of Manchester’s original contemporary Indian restaurants, East Z East has reopened after a makeover. Before opening their second site, a huge split level riverside venue on the Salford/Manchester border, East Z East on Princess Street was one of the first second generation Indian restaurants to open in the city centre.
Back in 2003, most curry houses were traditionally decked out with flock wallpaper and white tablecloths, so East Z East really stood out with its modern monochrome fit out, marble floors and wall mounted water features. Home-made naan breads came hot off the tandoor presented on hanging stands and it soon became apparent that this place was doing things differently - and in a good way.
Fourteen years after it opened, always keen to stay one step ahead of the competition, East Z East’s Princess Street branch has undergone another spruce up. More intimate than its spacious younger sibling, it’s still the perfect spot to grab a curry before or after a visit to the nearby Palace Theatre or Royal Northern College of Music. It is also strategically placed on the edge of the city’s famous student area behind Oxford Road.
East Z East specialise in cooking traditional (or desi) dishes. One of their must-try signature dishes, and a favourite of owner Kabir, is Lamb Sookha Bhuna. A ‘Bhuna‘ is a particular style of cooking where the sauce has been reduced until so thick and full of flavour it just clings to the tender, slow-cooked meat. Like many of the curries, it is available on or off the bone; off tends to be more popular in the west, but bones really do add so much more flavour to home-style meat curries.
Another popular signature dish is Lahori Murgha; pieces of chicken on the bone cooked in a mild and full-flavoured sauce with fresh chillies, tomatoes and ginger. This is a typical and very delicious dish from Lahore, a city with an extremely rich food culture.
It is always worth noting how easy it is to eat well in Indian restaurants if you’re vegetarian or vegan. Fresh vegetables, toasted spices, herbs, nuts, pulses and paneer, the Indian cheese, cooked so many different ways, you barely notice it is all meat free. Not forgetting the variety of breads; naan, puris, rotis, chapatis and parathas to scoop it all up with.
Daal Makhani is another not-to-miss dish at East Z East. It’s a surprisingly rich blend of urad, or black gram, and rajmah lentils, or red kidney beans, cooked until soft and velvety with Desi Makhan (butter.) It’s a smooth, comforting and filling dish which works well on its own with bread or rice, or alongside any meat or vegetable curry.
Now, once again, East Z East traditional Desi dining is available on both sides of town. Visit the Riverside restaurant if you fancy a really good curry on the Deansgate side of Manchester, or head over to their original Princess Street venue, which is back open for business.