Paratha Hut has been there for 11 years, but did you know about it?
Manchester is a curry city. From the famous “curry mile” Wilmslow Road in Rusholme to the Northern Quarter’s rice and three cafes that have stood strong for decades while the dining landscape around them became ever more gentrified.
Our long history of immigration from countries like Pakistan and India has led to us cultivating some of the best restaurants in the UK serving food from the Indian subcontinent. Alright, Bradford and Birmingham, don’t @ me.
I was inspired by my home country of Pakistan. In Lahore, the street food stalls are open 24/7
But did you know, there’s a tiny, unassuming shack serving up fresh to order parathas and delicious curries around the back of a car wash on the border of Levenshulme and Longsight?
If you live in the area, I’m sure you do. You locals are probably fuming as you read this and we give away your secrets. But if you’ve only ever popped to this stretch of Stockport Rd for a falafel wrap from Levenshulme Bakery or a bottle of natty from Isca, you might not have ventured this far down it. Next time you will though.
Where is this fabled Paratha Hut?
Look for the Waterworx car wash and head to the back of the forecourt. There you’ll find Paratha Hut serving cheap, fresh, tasty food from 11am to 11pm every single day.
In India and Pakistan, there are tiny street food stalls and transport cafes all over making fresh dough and slapping it on a hot pan, perhaps stuffed with spiced mashed potato or paneer. The food is hot, fresh and absolutely delicious.
Of course, many curry houses here in Manchester have a tandoor and make all their bread fresh but there are plenty of restaurants of all cuisines that choose the convenient route of buying ready-made and reheating.
Often it’s the cheaper places that do this. But at Paratha Hut, my team of three grabbed a hearty lunch: three large, rolled-and-stuffed-as-we-watched parathas, one stuffed with lamb keema, one with spiced potato and one enormous anda paratha (spiced crispy egg) all served with mint raita as well as a rich, spicy cauliflower and chicken curry the colour of deepest marigold and a round of sweet mango lassi. We paid for the lot, got change from a twenty-pound note and one of us took leftovers home. You will need a cash note btw, this place is cash only - none of your contactless nonsense here.
The daily fresh desi handi changes, well, daily. Ours had bone-in chicken and cauliflower, another day it might be lamb and spinach or perhaps fish tawa fry. Parathas start at £2 for a plain one or can be stuffed with anything from chicken to cheese to chocolate (yes, really) and there are samosas, kebabs and biryani on the menu as well with prices all hovering around a fiver. If you must, there is a small selection of burgers too.
From Lahore to Levenshulme
Chatting to staff member Abdulmajid as he worked the dough and slapped it on the hot plate, he told us the place had been there for 11 years. Cracking on, doing its thing.
Afterwards, I called owner Nadeem Riaz for a chat and he told me he perfected his kitchen skills working as a chef at Abdul's on Wilmslow Rd for 12 years before setting up his own place. He started with a shipping container and had a few troubles trying to get the council to license it at first, “It gave me a headache,” he says. At one point, he had to shut down his shop for a year and a half but he managed to get the support to reopen.
Paratha Hut is popular with locals but Nadeem says people travel from Rochdale, Ashton and other parts of Greater Manchester to try his parathas. He’s even had people come from Birmingham and as far as Denmark.
“My food is different and nobody else does it. It’s like street food. I was inspired by my home country of Pakistan. In Lahore, the street food stalls are open 24/7.”
The streets of Lahore are famous for their food. You’ll find everything from cheaper street food like kebabs and parathas to really expensive meals, all served any time of day.
I ask Nadeem what his favourite thing on his menu is and he tells me the chicken cheese paratha. Elsewhere in Manchester, he rates Istanbul in Cheetham Hill for a kebab and reckons you can’t beat Royal Nawaab in Levenshulme because there is something there for everyone.
Paratha Hut is another great small business. Give it your support and enjoy a different experience than you can get elsewhere - maybe get your car washed while you're at it. I wish Nadeem all the best and I'll be back in soon for a feed.
Paratha Hut (behind Waterworx car wash), 691 Stockport Rd, Levenshulme, Manchester M12 4QN
Read next: 'An intravenous drip of pure, uncut umami' - Firehouse, Ancoats, reviewed
Read again: An insider's guide to eating and drinking in Levenshulme
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