Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Just Can't Whoop at Dhoop ; Andy Cronshaw Is Disappointed at a Curry House with a differenceDhoop Shack West Didsbury

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Just Can't Whoop at Dhoop ; Andy Cronshaw Is Disappointed at a Curry House with a differenceDhoop Shack West Didsbury

Article excerpt

WE'RE a bit spoilt for curry in Manchester, which means new restaurants should really have something special to join the party.

A friend of mine recently played host to his American wife's father. They took him to Rusholme and he was astonished by the food and the atmosphere.

How lucky you are to have this, he said.

But many of us who live here know that Rusholme is a kind of curry Las Vegas. There are some good restaurants but it's curry with bright lights and glitz. The glare may blind you to the fact that the food is often just the same old gravy cast over tasteless bits of protein.

People in the know realise that food elsewhere can be a lot better, such as the burgeoning 'Lahori' scene in Longsight where there are now at least two cafes offering 'real' Pakistani food, not the food they think British people would like. At the opposite end of the scale are places such as Dili, in Altrincham, which attempts to emulate London's Cinnamon Club by adopting European cooking sensibilities in an effort to put curry on a Michelin star level.

Dhoop Shack (above), in West Didsbury, is caught somewhere in the crossfire of these philosophies.

The menu is somewhat ambivalent about the direction it wishes to go, opting for an Indian European fusion which oscillates wildly between the traditions.

According to its culinary mission statement, the restaurant 'redefines western and Indian cuisine'. So no lack of ambition then? Take two examples from the menu: a starter of scallops Jeera Wali (Pounds 6.95) cumin-flavoured seared scallop, tomato salsa and green chutney, and a main called the Real Indian chicken curry (Pounds 8.50) which is cooked, the menu says just as moma would make it.

These two dishes reflect almost polar opposite approaches to the menu. One an attempt at fine dining, one home-style cooking.

I think that had moma cooked it, the chicken may have been bone- in. …

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