Sunday 20 December 2015

Rudy's Pizza

SCRANIVERSE WAS MUNSONED (munsoned (v.) - to be up a creek without a paddle; to have the whole world in the palm of your hand and blow it. a figure of speech), ASKING WHETHER ANYBODY IN HERE LOVED HER?


I had a pizza at Rudy's in Ancoats with Tim Ashwell, we ate three pizzas (salami, neapolitan and tuscan sausage) and swigged a bottle of red wine.

The pizzas were tasty, best I've had in Lancashire.
The red wine was tasty, gave me the best headache I've had in Lancashire.

Yeah, good place, don't really care about service but service was good. I woke up the next morning and realised that I had forgotten to tip, unassed.

Important I note that Tim is an authority on pizza, he once ate a roast potato pizza in Naples. only man to ever order that rustic classic.

Monday 31 March 2014

Pronto Pizza

 In 2007 I was fired from Hardman & Son Fruit and Vegetable stall so when I realised they had shut down and replaced by a fabrics stall I decided I could strut my stuff around the market once more. (I’m going to lay it to bed and say I was unfairly fired because the owner’s niece kept turning up late then I had to leave or I’d be late for school).

Chorley Market has always been alright for food with Glovers, Hog Roast, Barbara’s Sweet Stall, Pam’s Cheese stall and the family dynasties of Tyrer and Ball fighting on the fruit & veg front. Yet, it is the newish Pronto Pizza that I’ve been enjoying lately.

Opened before Christmas, the stall serves pasta dishes and pizza (by the slice or 10”). I have only tried the pizza, at £1.50 a slice, and it is the best fast food in the town centre. The pizza is somewhat greasy and the cheese is stringy but this makes it special compared to the standardised pizza from Domino’s and cheap shit from Chorley’s takeaways.

Very tasty and value for money.

Thursday 2 January 2014


to start, a brief pre-amble:

i) it felt particularly awkward writing this, because i go so often. with experiences ranging from fine to great-heights, no particular time felt appropriate discussing the aspects of the place based off a singular, recent visit. 

as of writing (19/12/2013), the hadramout on walmer st east (inbetween camel one and Kebabish: Thrill Of The Grill) has finally produced a new leaflet that doubles for a menu. whilst no individual bar the owner could ever honestly applaud this decision, fuck it, it seems bitterly unsavvy for places on the much-lauded curry mile to do Sea Bass meals for £7, for example. prices like that evoke memories of tony blair lionising arjan de zeeuuw on motd and carling-sponsored music festivals where the darkness are second-night headliners on medium-sized stages.  

hadramout's thing is that it's a yemeni place, which is deeply unusual in the curry mile, in manchester and in britain.  the neighbouring city of salford has had a yemeni community for generations based around the docker's neighbourhoods; esteemed salfordian alex mcelroy informs me that there is indeed some takeaways in salford with yemeni leanings. for the uninformed (ie me before june), yemeni food finds similarities in north african cuisine; all the predictable chicken and lamb dishes with really moist cinnamon-boiled rice with accompanying salads are to be found on the menu. the drinks are to be expected in any curry mile arab cafe - cans of coke and shani, bottles of water, and so on.

this all sort of feels boring and stodgy to even mention given that the fahsa and salta are on the menu. these things, i have gathered, are the national dishes of yemen. during a miserable summer month which saw the hadramout closed for renovation i desperately sought out a fahsa recipe online, and found a couple from yemeni recipe websites that brim with unabashed pride and crude picture documentation of the food and the process involved in creating it. my pitiful stab at the recipe is utterly irrelevent. any attempt at what the yemeni makes is totally shameful imitation - their fahsa, which is a boiling clay pot of lamb so stringy that it had been clearly cooked for hour after hour, tomato, fenugeek, garlic and various spices, kills sooo much.

i have absolutely no reference point for this food, given that its not really like anything i've ever tasted. it's bloody exciting, y'know! so much so that i've barely explored the other stuff on the leafletmenu but the muqalqal (formerly £3.50. probably now £3.95) is a rad dish consisting of miniscule cut up peppers, unusual spices and delicately diced chicken. the fasoolia is also of the same price and is some pretty mysterious kidney bean dish with some tomatoes, mild spices and a weird charcoaly taste which is pretty, pretty, pretty special. scraniverse king-pin heath linn is investigating the fasoolia for its taste properties cuz it is really good and, sort of like the fahsa, really untraceable and uncoded in its taste. at this point i should probably add that every meal comes with some really, really gorgeous yemeni bread that is sort of a naan but much more buttery and softer. something special.

the layout of the upstairs part of hadramout encourages you to knock about and burn afternoons away, given that you can lie down and sit cross-legged on really ottoman empire sofa cushions on the floor whilst you eat. the "waiters" are more like the owners mates who bumble about in nice shirts and get you what you want; they are well-meaning and they hardly dote on you, letting you mong out a bit. this basically means that you have to go to them with your order, but that doesn't mean theres a trace of surliness from themits pretty unusual to see anyone who isn't a young arab man there, opening up a guarantee for the appearance of people such as myself to offer vague and muted interest in each others presence and movements. 

there is a stupid manchester confidential article which has a smarmy go at the place for being 'dry' (ie no alcohol) and for giving you 'too much to eat', before scurrilously attacking the curry mile. the other articles defend the same old turgid northern quarter suited-guy money houses so, of course, disregard that, they are total shondes. go off punk rock bands RANK/XEROXHanna Cash and Baader Brains whose members have solidly rated their yemeni after a ramadan-time manchester gig R/X played. a waiter at hadramout was actually upstairs at the venue, and after being pretty chuffed at being spotted as 'the guy from the yemeni' he hung out busting jokes for ages and buying drinks, being total proof of hadramout being not only the best food in the curry mile but a committed punk lifer's option.

go to the hadramout!!!


This is my interpretation of the dish I ate at the Hadramount. I used a few internet recipes as a guide, but I did not think they were totally right and didn't contain the right ingredients for the complexity of flavours in the dish. My Mum told me it's delicious but "too many kidney beans", but she holds prejudice against all beans that are not baked in tomato sauce.


450g x kidney beans, drained of brine
1 x medium onion, charcoaled & fine diced
1 x tomate, fine dice
2 x garlic cloves, crushed with salt
30g x jalapeno peppers, fine dice
1 tbsp x cayenne pepper
1 tbsp x tomato puree
2 tbsp x fresh coriander, chopped
2tbsp x Hawaij Spice Mix
3 tbsp x Coal oil (optional)

Hawaij Spice Mix Ingredients

15g x coriander seed
10g x cumin seed
10g x black pepper
8 x cardamon seeds, podded
1 tsp x cloves
2 tsp x cinnamon
2 tsp x tumeric

Cardamon Rice

1 x onion, peeled and left whole
2 x garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
1 x green chilli, pricked and left whole
5 x cardamon pods
4cm x piece of cinnamon bark


1. I chargrilled my onions over the coal fire for 40 minutes, I merely rubbed them with a little knorr vegetable stock cube and placed them in a parcel of tin foil
2. in a dry frying pan on a medium heat toast the hawaij spice mix ingredients and then blend or work in a pestle & mortar
3. saute all of the vegetable ingredients for 4-5 minutes and add the spice mix & cayenne pepper
4. add the tomato puree and cook it out otherwise it will add a bitter note to the dish
5. add a few tbsp of water to the pan and allow to simmer for 1 minute
6. add the kidney beans to the pan along with 150ml of water and bring to a simmer
7. simmer for 10 minutes until the mixture has thickened to a dropping consistency
8. In the meantime you should have all your ingredients for the rice working and cook to your liking then remove all vegetables and spices after draining.
8. garnish with fresh coriander and serve

Monday 30 December 2013

Venus Supermarket

The Culprit

The layout of Venus Supermarket is a disgrace. But somewhere in this ill-designed shop is a fantastic charcoal cuisine restaurant. The supermarket is renowned around the neighbourhood in Longsight, and those who travel to Upper Brooke Street for the excellent flatbreads that are baked in store and the out of this world selection of ‘fresh’ fruit and vegetables.

Lovely Estate Agents in the Neighbourhood

In my younger days of hard partying & penny pinching I could not justify paying £5 for a kebab, but now I am a head of industry type I am being weighed down with disposable income so I treated myself and Sam Plum(b) (silent B) to a kebab, while Scraniverse tag along Marcus paid for his own.

Chicken Kebab

When you pay the over the average price for a kebab at Venus you can understand why, it’s not the meat – but the smoke! The smokiness of the meat is the standout feature of the kebabs at Venus Supermarket. The kebab comes on one of the baked flatbreads with the usual salads and sauces.

The fries are also nice.

Sanam, Rusholme

Popped into Sanam, Wilmslow Road, for a vegetable samosa on the way for a falafel at 'Falafel'. The samosa was warming, tasty and spicy with garam masala.

In reflection I would have preferred to eaten more at Sanam rather than 'Falafel'. Much recommended considering it only costs 70p (up from 50p to Alex Brown's dislike).

Thursday 17 October 2013

Camel One

In my thoughts I do not think there is anything wrong with eating a kebab while sober, but Caucasians are square and the looks they fire your way when you roll down the street munching on charcoaled meat would never be shot if you were eating a sober-friendly falafel wrap. For the last few years I have held a belief based on my drunken appetite that Camel One, situated on Jewellery Mile, would be a tasty kebab while sober. This belief was based in alcohol consumption and the dozens of kebabs that I have drunkenly eaten on my way home that I am guaranteed to spill the chilli sauce down the front of my jeans or piss my pants.

Camel One’s kebabs do not divert too far from the usual kebab houses where you can buy a £3 kebab, but in my head I have elevated it above everywhere else. It became my regular kebab haunt in second year of university when I lived in Longsight and would make a lengthy detour to buy a decent kebab rather than risk buying food from one of the dodgy takeaways on Dickinson Road or steal my flatmates Sainsbury’s chorizo slices.

Camel One serves more than just kebabs, with a selection of the usual finger food and an interesting menu of curries that I have never tasted. But one thing I do know is that the donner kebab is from a different mother than the stock donner served across England. It is a questionable ruby red coloured meat that is really dry but satisfies a need when bladdered. Tonight I ordered the chicken kebab that was charcoaled over coals for ten minutes and served with salad, minted yogurt and chilli sauce. The anticipation was crushing me as I walked to my table, I took my first (sober) bite of Camel One’s chicken kebab and wow, it tasted like a chicken kebab.

What had I been playing at? I had deluded myself, I had actually listened to a theory that I thought up while pissed. No disrespect to Camel One but it tasted like a normal chicken kebab. On the Curry Mile Al Quds and Caspian remain the two best kebab houses in terms of flavour, but Camel One will continue to be my first port of call for when I am drunk and hungry.

Thursday 3 October 2013

Ho's Bakery

Last Friday I had twenty minutes to nip out of work and grab food to bring back to the kitchen so I could carry on working. So Roman the Russian and I headed to Chinatown to chow down on buns and tarts from Ho’s Bakery in Chinatown.

Located on the corner of Faulkner Street Ho’s is a Hong Kong bakery that bakes savoury pastries, buns, cakes and puddings. The website brags that the family has been professionally baking for twenty-five years. The food is simple and tastes fantastic while having the presentation style of the food paraded around at the beginning of the film American Psycho.

So Roman and me bought a pork chop bun, sweet pork bun and an egg custard each. The pork chop bun is essentially pork schnitzel served with a tangy mayonnaise and jalapeƱo peppers that gives a sharp flavour with the succulent shallow fried pork. The selections of roasted buns are beef, pork and chicken all in a variety of different flavours, ranging from curry to five spice. The main food that has kept me returning to Ho’s regularly for the past two years, man and boy, is the amazing Portuguese tarts. Portuguese tarts are a variety of the egg custard, but far superior in my opinion. Unlike the cop-outs with short crust pastry that are mass-produced then sold for 89p at M&S with your mum’s discount cards these are a real treat. The tarts have a fantastic flaky pastry with a gold baked egg custard filling that reminds me of a childhood holiday to Portugal where me and my brothers ate these everyday then the entire family had diarrhoea on the final night.

Since we took our baked loot back to the kitchen I have been harangued by colleagues to take them to Ho’s and I have no problem with this because it is great value for money and there is still loads that I want to eat like the swiss rolls, black forest gateaux, Japanese cheese cake and custard buns. Next time you are peckish in town go to Ho’s.