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Restaurant review - Indian Tiffin Room, Cheadle

PUBLISHED: 00:00 22 October 2015 | UPDATED: 10:04 20 April 2016

Food at the Indian Tiffin Room, Cheadle Village

Food at the Indian Tiffin Room, Cheadle Village

not Archant

There are three good reasons why the Indian Tiffin Room in Cheadle Village is such a success, writes Ray King

Lamb dish at the Indian Tiffin Room, Cheadle VillageLamb dish at the Indian Tiffin Room, Cheadle Village

For a restaurant boasting just 40 covers, the Indian Tiffin Room has been making waves far and away beyond its modest suburban location in Cheadle Village since it opened two years ago.

The reasons are simple: it’s different, authentic and very, very good. Here is an Indian restaurant that closes long before the pubs do and offers a menu that’s mainly vegetarian, devoid of pappadums and the fiery, heavily-spiced vindaloo and Madras curries traditionally slaked by copious quantities of lager. In short, unless you’ve eaten at ITR or grazed the bustling streets of the sub-continent, it’s a pretty fair bet you’ve never encountered this style of food before...and it is quite delicious.

Such is ITR’s popularity, it often takes two weeks or more to get a weekend table and walking in and expecting to eat without booking is pretty nigh impossible at any time. Respite, however, is on the way: an ITR restaurant more than double the size is planned for First Street in the centre of Manchester.

Meanwhile, back in Cheadle it’s 8pm on Thursday night - they couldn’t do earlier - and the place is customarily rammed. We’ve a 15 minute wait, tempered by the offer of a brace of Kingfisher lagers on the house albeit with nowhere to sit, to take in the scene. Save for a couple of stylised paintings at either end of the dining room, there’s no decor as such; tables are unclad and furnishings functional; in another life this could be the village tea shop. But the atmosphere is buzzing and the aromas are divine.

Grazing platter at the Indian Tiffin Room, Cheadle VillageGrazing platter at the Indian Tiffin Room, Cheadle Village

We take window seats, peruse the big paper menus that double as ‘tablecloths’ and start with a grazing platter (£6.50) from the ‘Veg Cool’ list. It features Bhel Puri, Dahi Puri and Sev Puri, each comprising delicate hollow puffed pastry rounds with various fillings of potato, yoghurt and tangy chutneys; tamarind, onions and he finest pastry vermicelli. Pop them into the mouth whole for a flavour explosion is the advice: wow! We follow with Chicken Lollipops (£4.75) - wings coated in a special marinade, deep fried and served with hot garlic sauce - and then Masala Dosa (£3.85), a huge but how-do-they-get-it-so-thin rice and lentil crepe with fluffy potato masala filling and mild, spicy lentil sambar for dipping.

We could have happily carried on with the snacks, but the curry choices, limited as they are, were too tempting. My ITR Lamb cooked in ‘the chef’s handpicked’ ITR spices (£9) was the tenderest ever and Mrs K’s Jumbo Prawn Masala (£9), a Konkan coastal recipe of coconut, red chilli and tamarind, was superb. The accompanying Jeera Pulao rice (£3) and Tandoori Roti (£1.25) were also spot on. We never saw a wine list but just asked for a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc; what came was Chilean, classy and a snip at £16, bringing the whole meal to £52. Brilliant. w

Indian Tiffin Room, Chapel St, Cheadle, Cheshire SK8 1BR; Tel: 0161 491 2020; www.indiantiffinroom.com

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