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Lal Haweli

68-72 Wilmslow Road
Tel: 0161-248 9700

Lal Haweli is located prominently on the Wilmslow Road in Manchester's Rusholme district. It is a relative newcomer to the scene and so has a reputation still to earn amongst some fierce competition.

Lal Haweli is a large modern, air conditioned, licensed restaurant. It has a clean pastel green decor giving a light fresh feel to the place. It has an upmarket feel but somehow does not aspire to its visual image.

The waiters are keen and relatively attentive but let themselves down by lack of attention to detail. With prices at a premium for the area, and despite its obvious upmarket decor, service is still par for the course. In an upmarket restaurant you expect service to be of an accepted standard and don't expect to have to pass plates backwards and forwards, for example, because the waiter can't be bothered to circle the table.

As I mentioned earlier, prices are at a premium for the area. For example, starters, tandoori mix 5.90, mulligatawny soup 2.50, mixed kebab 4.50. Main course prices follow a similar theme with chicken tikka 6.30, king prawn kebab 9.50. Basic curries are an acceptable 4.50 upto 6.50 and any dishes described as special or balti are from 4.80 (for vegetable) to 6.95 for chicken akbari. Obviously the fish and prawn curries are more expensive from 5.90 upto 12.90 for lobster masala.

Our party of four sampled Poppadoms and chutneys, sheek kebab, onion bhaji, chicken pakora and mushroom pakora for starters. For main course we chose lamb karahi, chicken jalfrezi, chicken dopiaza and chicken tikka massala with pillau rice and a mixture of plain and garlic nan bread. The bill for four including drinks was about 65. This is probably about 10 - 12 more than in an averagely priced restaurant in the area.

It has to be admitted that there were no complaints about the food and the portions were generous. The lamb in particular was tender and plentiful. the sauces were well prepared and spicy. The nan breads were average, cooked in a tandoor but thin and stiff rather than soft and fluffy. the rice was excellent, aromatic and plentiful.

Verdict: Lal Haweli is not quite what it aspires to be and consequently does not give the value for money that it takes as a premium over most other restaurants in the area. The food is good, the service is average and the surroundings and prices are upmarket. If it can polish its rough edges it could be worth a visit, but until then try some others.


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