“When you walk into Bardez, it doesn’t feel like the most traditional Indian restaurant, with tiles on the wall that would be at home in a bar in Lisbon.” First impressions count for much when it comes to eating out, and when Finest first visited one of the new generation of Curry Mile eateries it more than stood out. Run by Marcus and Zico Dsouza, whose Goan upbringing exposed them to both Indian culture and that of former Portuguese colonists that governed the region for 450 years, suffice to say the establishment reflects the contemporary face of Rusholme’s legendary food scene.
On the menu guests will find dishes from across India, with chefs in the kitchen hailing from Uttarakhand, in the country’s northern territories. Using only imported spices, and the same supplier as other upmarket restaurants inspired by the sub-continent — for example, Dishoom — the expansive menu here covers a wide variety of flavours and cuisines, from Indo-Chinese delicacies, to South Asia’s beloved speciality, the Biriyani.
Separate sections are dedicated to chicken (from Korma to Kadai), seafood (Malvani Fish Curry, anyone?), and lamb (Keema Mutter, Chops Suka), while the Chaat selection of small appetisers is equally impressive: Broccoli and Red Apple, Raj Kachori, Dahi Puri and Chowpati Bhel Puri to name but a few. From the lot, our favourites include Paneer Butter Massala, and the huge Sizzler — a mixed grill of lamb chops, prawns, chicken chops, seekh kebabs, and tandoori chicken on a smoking hot plate. Lunchtime visitors are particularly well catered for at Bardez, too, as £6 dishes are served each afternoon. Nobody will go thirsty, either, as the bar is expertly stocked with beers, wines and spirits, not to mention a strong list of cocktails and mocktails, accentuating the sophisticated nature of a spot where longstanding food traditions and contemporary ideas have find common ground.