Scene Indian Street Kitchen 3/5
VALUE FOR MONEY: 2.5.5/5
ATMOSPHERE AND DECOR: 3.5/5
Note: All meat halal, alcohol served on the premises
After our NYE fail (where we spent the stroke of midnight watching the fireworks on BBC iplayer on the iPhone in gridlock traffic), ShakerFries and I decided to return to Manchester following the Spurs game in Liverpool. Where to eat this time? Usually we eat at Sanams, and we had already tried Rump ‘N Ribs, Vermillion, and Mughli… it was time to try something new. Enter Sheikh Google. We searched ‘Halal restaurants Manchester’ and Scene Kitchen crops up. Menu looks decent and it’s a fairly new establishment which opened in 2015. It’s a done deal.
It’s almost 9pm and we park up in Spinningfields car park and cross over to the restaurant. Oozing with character, I instantly fell in love with the quirky decor. The restaurant had a contemporary feel, with wood furnishings, Indian street props and my favourite part: the Indian graffiti art! Even the toilet doors were somewhat a work of art. The restaurant also had a theatrical open plan kitchen – the focal point of the restaurant, as well as a heated shisha garden. The ambience inside the restaurant was dim and the atmosphere was buzzing. Despite not having made a reservation and it being so busy, the friendly waiter showed us to a table within a couple of minutes.
So lets dive straight in shall we? We ordered a jug of mango lassi, gobhi manchurian from the ‘Indo-Chinese’ section, a tandoori mixed grill, garlic naan and dhaba murgh chicken. The starters arrived fairly promptly. The gobhi manchurian wasn’t on form sadly. The batter was soggy by the time it arrived, drenched in a sauce that lacked the usual tangy kick which you would expect from an Indo-Chinese sauce. This, in addition to the fact that there were only 6 pieces of actual gobhi in a portion left me altogether a bit disappointed. The mixed grill was average. It was supposed to include tandoori chicken, chicken tikka, lamb chops, seek kebab and king prawns. What we got was 2 pieces of chicken tikka, 1 prawn, 2 limp meatless chops, some chicken wings, 1 kebab and 3/4 of a prawn. For £15 I’m not sure this was good value for money. That being said nothing tasted bad, and I was impressed that the mixed grill came with a side of pilau rice and daal. Overall however, I felt the masalas and seasonings in the mixed grill just lacked that curry house PUNCH.
The wait between the starters and mains was so long that by the time the main dish arrived, we had both digested the starters and were basically full. Nonetheless, we managed to force a few morsels of the dhaba murgh chicken into our mouths. The garlic naan was warm and fluffy and the chicken was tender and tasty. Again, nothing was mind blowing. In fact, my favourite thing on the menu was the mango lassi which had a thick yet smooth consistency and was just the right amount of sweet! Actually, I stand corrected. My favourite thing was the creamy Karak chai I had at the end, which was the perfect blend of black tea, milk, sugar and cardamom.
The bill came to around £53, which on a normal day I would have said was fine to pay for a nice weekend meal, however on this occasion I feel we were a bit short changed. Although the service was nothing short of exceptional and the atmosphere and decor was amazing, the food was mediocre, leaving me neither terribly disappointed nor terribly satisfied when we left. If you’re spoilt for choice I’d give it a go anyway. Judging by the mix of people, and how busy it was, I think maybe Scene Kitchen may have just had an off day!
Address: 4 Left Bank, Manchester, M3 3AN
Tel: 0161 839 3929