Any restaurant that turns away good business at 10.30pm (when it’s advertised opening hours are until 11.30pm and it isn’t busy) thoroughly deserves to go out of business. Such an establishment would be Don Marco’s in Manchester’s Deansgate, whose door me and my expense account shall never grace again when regularly in the area.

However, their loss was very much the nearby Bollywood’s gain. To be fair, it was my first choice for the group, but a vocal minority was demanding Italian, only to be disappointed.

Any restaurant that can serve 22 without notice deserves praise. Now, before people rush to the defense of Don Marco in light of this information, it was only going to be 6 to begin with – the larger group had fragmented and were all doing their own thing, only the willingness of Bollywood (and its recommendation by me) saw the group later converge on Liverpool Road and the numbers swell.

Anyway, competent and friendly service, a tolerance of the indecision of a large group and a varied menu covering old favourites and a range of unique specials quickly endeared themselves to all.

The tarka dhall (regular readers will note this is my litmus test of a good Indian restaurant) was superb, naans not to thick with a crispy base are also pleasing as well as a dish that is rapidly becoming my favourite anywhere in the UK; Madhubala. This is chicken in a spice pomegranate curry sauce and is both unique and amazingly tasty.

At work, there’s a war between those of us that prefer Bollywood and those that prefer the nearby Khan Baba. I wouldn’t say the Khan Baba is a bad Indian – it isn’t and I challenge anyone to be disappointed. It’s a solid traditional Anglo-Indian with many of its own specials; only Bollywood pushes the envelope further; whilst it may be marginally less atmospheric, the diversity and uniqueness of the dishes matter more. And in any event, in that war, I’ve very much just won 21 allies!

Tagged on: