An unassuming council estate in the centre of Blackley isn’t necessarily somewhere you’d expect to find Manchester's best takeaway, but the beaming faces behind Liv’s are heading up a unique culinary experience.
Hidden behind the facade of a bricks and mortar three-bed, this one-of-a-kind Goan takeaway is run by husband-and-wife duo, Cefona and Michael who specialise in proper traditional home-cooked food using family recipes passed down through generations.
Working in hospitality since the age of 8 - where he began serving food in his parent’s busy restaurant in Goa - Michael quickly learned what came with running a business. “My parents provided me with the roots and love I have for food and hospitality,” he said.
“When I was ready to leave, I wanted to put the theory I’d learned into practice, so I began working at a five-star beach restaurant in Goa where I was properly trained before moving on to Saudi Arabia.”
His career as a chef then took him further around the world, working on cruise ships to the Caribbean and India. Away from the lavishness and luxury of a 3,000-capacity liner, Michael and his wife then came to the UK where he began working in major chain restaurants including Bella Italia and Pizza Express, before moving into the hotel industry.
But with a CV spanning continents and culinary excellence, Michael and Cefona soon realised that they had a lot more to offer in setting up a business of their own. “It was a big dream of ours to have somewhere of our own, but Cefona’s background isn’t really in hospitality, she’s a teacher by trade.”
Cefona furthered: “I always knew the art was in me, but I never really explored it until I got married. I was always busy with my education, usually sitting with a book over cooking. It wasn’t until I got appendicitis and my Mum was looking after me that I really got to sit with her and listen and learn about her cooking techniques. Most of the recipes we use come from both of our families.”
The home-cooked quality is what makes the restaurant so special. Dishes such as Pork Vindaloo, Goan Sausage Pilau, and the Beef Puffs are exceptional, and truly one-of-a-kind, creating authentic cultural experiences that leave their mark on diners.
It’s also why they’re reluctant to move into bigger premises, as the pair know the food would potentially have to compromise the very thing that makes it stand out from the rest. Each meal is made from scratch in-house, and dishes often take 24 hours to prepare. Cefona laughed while telling us sometimes her children will ask for the Vindaloo they can smell being cooked and she’ll have to tell them: “No, this is for tomorrow”.
Liv’s Takeaway only opened its doors last year but has made some serious noise since then. Last week they were crowned the ‘Best Takeaway in Manchester’ at the Englands Business Awards 2022, a well-deserved win for this hidden gem.
“Winning the award was such a surreal moment. Everyone was banging the tables and cheering, and it was a moment we’ll remember for our whole lives. We’ve had so many people congratulate us and tell us how well we’ve done in such a short space of time, so it’s definitely a driving force for our future.”
Liv’s Takeaway is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 11am-10pm. The takeaway is a small operation so definitely order in advance. You can also find it on UberEats.