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. 

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Longsight Meat Market

near greggs and 'uptown girl', a shop which sells a cool dress shaped like tutankhamun's death mask, no option similar for boys though, stockport rd, m13
one of the funniest things about south manchester is the really dumb affectation of 'victoria park' as an actually existing neighbourhood in which to live. its so so certainly the invention of cunning landlords appealing to a student populace wary about living somewhere that one feels potentially wary of, such as the recognised area of Longsight that it is so very geographically clearly a part of.
with a combined majority population of pakistani, bangladeshi and irish, it's a solid immigrant working class neighbourhood. having shown itself relatively resilient to the yuppification associated with more affluent districts of south manchester, north manchester and even parts of salford, it still drips of the past and the tradition of its locals; for example, by the main commercial area, the stockport rd/dickenson rd junction, by an old factory wall you can still faintly scope out a certainly-decades-old gigantic "VICTORY TO THE IRA" slogan painted on the wall. less explicitly, the market there is consistently fantastic every single day of the week, most so with its ‘market tuesdays’ that heave with bric-a-brac, snide "top brand" wears, self-help group activists and second-hand vhs stalls.
my favourite market is not this, however, but Longsight Meat Market, a tiny butchers on the stockport rd. hopefully the name for the place was borne of a desire to associate itself somehow with the apparent infamy of the market round the corner, because it's nothing spatially but a family butchers. having only glanced around the meat sections, it looks modestly priced, sure, but the real sweepstakes prize about the place is the stand at the front, cuz it's an utter gem.
the stand sells exactly what you'd expect: bacon butties, sausage butties (pork or beef), and some gorgeous hand-cut thick chips. all of these come within the range of £1 to £1.20, but for a small price extra you can also buy some potent scran that reflects longsight's diverse community, such as curries, irish stew and jerk chicken. i love using this place as a hangover cure or when im being utterly fucking pathetic and cant decide what to do with fridge contents, so have dabbled with all the choices, and can testify on their behalf.
owing to the places popularity, most of the grub seems to be gone by 14.30 at the very latest, so it's best to get there for lunch time on the dot. i went for some chips and gravy the other day, and had the lovely girl (presumably the daughter of the mild-mannered gent who runs the place) who works there ask me if i just wanted some gravy and bits-and-pieces from the stew chucked over my chips instead as the gravy was all sold-out. i wouldnt tell if she wouldnt, i told her, and while she was hooking the gravy out of the stew we were making fairly innocuous craic about how ridiculously balmy it was (22 degrees or something in late september!!), how market day isnt cut out for such sweat and irritating climes, and how she’d rather be sunbathing. anywho it tasted fantastic as usual, cost a quid (even though she gave me a decent amount of stew, beef and all, on the chips) and sorted me out til i got to my nan's hours later. recommended a million times over!!!!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013


I work as a chef in the town centre, so I rarely have a break and the only food I get my hands on all day is a little taste of what ends up on your plate so that I can check if I need to load it up with more cooking salt. But every night I catch the 142/143/42/43/X57 bus home with the rest of Manchester's night people and look forward to jumping off the bus, crossing Wilmslow road and ordering a shawarma or falafel and shoving it down my mouth as quickly as possible on the five minute walk home.

Atlas Shawarma is a tiny takeaway with a kitchen that only serves falafel wraps, chicken shawarma, lamb shawarma and four naans. Despite this it is definitely one of the best shawarma haunts in south Manchester. The shawarma and falafel wraps come with fresh salad of raw white onion, tomato, iceberg lettuce and pickle. Along with the salad they come with hummus, garlic sauce, mint sauce and chilli sauce. The naan is made fresh in house. I usually pile it all on because I want to get every penny out of my £2/2.50 investment.

I was previously wary of the little bloke who works there as he tried scalping me out of a fiver by giving me £2.50 back out of £10 for my shawarma once, and was quite miserable and reluctant to return the proper change. But I rekindled some faith in him after a rude, overweight woman complained spitefully to him about how the shawarma was 'not for me' and it was 'minging' and 'too big'. After a spirited joust, she walked away from it all in a mood and he began joking to me about how gigantic the woman was and how 'many' kebabs would have been 'for her'.

My favourite shawarma takeaway in Manchester with everything on the menu perfected and quickly served to gorge yourself on sober or drunk. Don't be put off just because it is cramped inside because you will only be making a fool of yourself.