In the Manchester Evening News once again!

It seems the staff at the MEN must love a rice and three for dinner because we’ve been featured AGAIN with a massive write-up from Sarah Walters, who concludes that our curry is delicious, our refurbishment brilliant, and our prices almost unbeatable!

Check out the review here: http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/food-drink-news/this-that-cafe-manchester-review-11619808 or just keep reading!

Rice and three curry house This & That is one of the survivors of the huge redevelopment of the Northern Quarter.

A tiny cafe, it specialises in authentic Indian dishes served up three at a time with a hefty pile of rice.

Opened in 1984, it has been run by the same family team since 1992 and can seat around 45 tightly packed diners. Expect to get friendly with your dining neighbours.

This & That – isn’t that the Fight Club of the NQ?

This & That is the place that local NQers go to regularly but don’t talk about. It’s their very hidden gem.

It helps that it’s tucked away down an indistinct alley, with a sign obscured by a cast iron fire escape and a doorway that’s invisible until you’re standing right outside it.

A lunchtimes it’s packed. Go after 2pm if you fancy elbow room.

If it’s good, why not talk about it?

I’m guessing here, but since This & That first opened it has seen endless retail and food places drop off around it – making it one of the few slices of old skool NQ life left.

To put it onto a timeline of well known Manc openings, it launched two years after The Hacienda (more of that in a minute), five years before Dry Bar, and more than two decades before the likes of nearby Trof NQ and Bluu Bar.

Thirty-two years? Wow. How has it survived?

One word: authenticity. The food, the atmosphere, the canteen vibe, the owners in the kitchen, the plastic plates and collect your own cutlery set up – there’s no pretence at all.

For that reason, This & That has become the city centre’s great culinary leveller. Everyone is here: young and old, adults and children, men and women, groups and solo diners, all ethnicies.

I read a flashy redesign had caused an upset…

Steady with the hyperbole. Right enough, it looks different – its black and yellow striped pillars, a tribute to the Hacienda, caused the biggest stir – but the space is now much more relaxing to sit in.

Earlier this year, out came the old greasy spoon style fixed plastic tables and chairs in favour of communal benches.

While I’m there, only one regular moans that he preferred the “old seating”. Ah, you know, paint jobs split opinion but for what it’s worth I think it’s an improvement, and it has likely made it more appealing to student age diners and young families.

So, what can I get?

The next time anyone tells you you can’t get a decent lunch in the NQ for under a fiver, frogmarch them to This & That.

Especially if they’re vegetarian, because they can get three vegetarian dishes and rice for just £3.90. Depending on your appetite for meat dishes, you can get one meat and two veggie options for £4.50 or opt for three meat dishes for £6.

The rolling menu changes daily (although it is consistently the same each Monday, each Tuesday, and so on) and the idea is to get three different dishes. If you’d rather, you can opt for three portions of one thing. But – pun incoming, readers – in This & That variety is quite literally the spice of life. Haha…ha…uhh…yeah.

What did you choose?

Lamb is a big favourite here, and from Tuesday’s pick I had the lamb and pumpkin, as well as the Chicken Masala and vegetarian chick pea chana (£5.50 for all three with rice). With a can of pop and a side dish of onion bhaji, it set me back £7.10.

It’s piled on the plate without airs or graces. Sauces intermingle, the Masala turns the rice a brilliant pink, and after a couple of scoops it’s not entirely obvious where in this gang of dishes the zing of spice is coming from – or which to recommend to you so you score the amazing chunks of slow cooked onion, their flesh more like a ripe poached pear.

The chicken is super juicy, and there’s only one fatty chunk in the otherwise lean lamb. The bhaji is a real star: crispy, spicy, and the brightest lemony yellow inside. Highly recommended. Paint job and all.

3 Soap Street / thisandthatcafe.co.uk / 0161 832 4971 / Open: Mon-Thu, 11.30am-4.30pm; Fri & Sat, 11.30am-8pm; Sun, 11.30am-4pm

 

Amazing!! Thank you so much for your lovely words Sarah, hope to see you again soon!