Delhi House Cafe has become a go-to for guests who want dishes derived straight from the innovative kitchens of Delhi, especially those in search of food from the minds of ordinary folk that have left legacies with their experimental cooking.
The restaurant was born out of this, and boy, once you’re in there, don’t your senses know it.
Since opening back in 2020, Delhi House Café’s authentic approach is what has made it so popular, as you’re immersed in tradition before you’re even seated at the table, from the fragrant scents that follow you into the space, to the floral arrangements surrounding each table. And this is all before you tuck into their historic family recipes.
Eating to socialise is ingrained in Indian culture as an essential part of any celebration, which means that small plates and sharing platters are synonymous with traditional Indian cooking. This forms the core of Delhi House Café’s brand-new menu, with all the food served at once, avoiding splitting the experience up into separate courses.
Seasonal, diverse, but still authentic Delhi
This particular menu has been 6-months in the making, with the collective family – mum, dad, sons and daughters – all working tirelessly through tried and tested traditional recipes to develop ideas that are seasonal and diverse, but still authentically Delhi.
Delving into the details, we began with a delicious selection of Indian snacks. The Aaloo Tikka Chaat (£6.50) is a classic dish of spicy fried potatoes on a bed of chickpeas that’s then served with mint, tamarind and yoghurt and topped with pomegranate seeds. The seeds reinvent the texture of this plate, giving it an extra bit of crunch and a surprising touch of sweetness.
Then there’s the Vegetable Samosa Chaat (£6.95), which consists of Punjabi-style filo pastry, filled with vegetables and then laid on top of a bed of chickpea curry. It’s a recipe that’s been passed down through numerous generations – nothing you haven’t seen before, but one of those dishes that you won’t stop thinking about in the days that follow.
Another dish that captures the spirit of dining at Delhi House is the new Prawn Shaadiwala (£9.50). This particular dish consists of crispy fried prawns in coastal spices, which are then paired with a garlic mint yoghurt.
It’s a popular Indian wedding dish that’s celebrated in style at gatherings, where couples often have up to 500 dishes for guests to choose from. Basically, if you’re ever invited to an Indian wedding don’t wear a belt, and I’d probably say the same if you’re heading to Delhi House Cafe anytime soon, too.
‘Poor Man’s Party Fare’
However, the true hero of the restaurant’s new menu has to be the Champaran Meat (£15.95). It’s a one-pot curry with origins in Bihar, a state of India said to be central for power, learning and culture.
The one-pot curry, otherwise known as a ‘poor man’s party fare’, is not necessarily noted as being a dish of sophistication, but when combined with Delhi House’s spices it’s given a new lease of life.
The chefs at the restaurant use spices that are only found in India, and have them imported over to create the base of the dish. The mix consists of stone flower, khus roots, long pepper, fox nuts, cardamom and mace, alongside mum’s homemade masala which gives the curry its distinctive flavour.
It’s hearty and thick, with the lamb being marinated slowly for a whole 24 hours and then formed into the forceful finished product. It packs a powerful punch, with just the right amount of spice.
Foot-Long Island Ice Tea
Delhi House Cafe has also revamped its entire cocktail menu, which now features the foot long ‘Tumse Na Ho Paega’ – a Delhi-inspired Long Island Iced Tea, which aptly translates to ‘you can’t do it’. A truer word couldn’t be spoken, as it’s a corker of a cocktail that’s full of Bacardi Blanca, Absolut Vodka, Tequila, Bombay Sapphire Gin, Curacao and Ginger Ale.
They’ve also included a Delhi Old-Fashioned, which is presented in a smoking chamber and the Salted Caramel Espresso Martini – a delightful after dinner pick me up, making it a great alternative to a dessert. The other cocktails on the list emulate a Delhi take on Manchester’s abundant cocktail drinking culture, with gin-based tipples, alongside whisky and all your favourite wines and beers also available.
Delhi House Cafe has opened the door to traditional Indian dining and its bustling bazaars. With the addition of new curries and small plates to the menu, still with a big influence from Mum, the restaurant is a welcoming retreat that’s based within one of Manchester’s most famous foodie quarters.
If you’re a bit possessive over your food, then I’m right in saying that Delhi House Cafe won’t be for you. Its intrinsic link with sharing and sociable dining means that selfishness needs to be left at the door, as it’s bound to deprive you of some of the best, if not the only traditional Delhi street food you can find in Manchester.
Delhi House Cafe is open 12pm – 9pm Sunday – Thursday and 12pm – 10pm Friday and Saturday. Book a table now via the link below.