| "Its been a while since Ive been for a meal down the curry mile, as to be blunt, pretty much all the best Asian restaurants in the area are in town nowadays, since they rely on being good, rather than just being in a novelty area which is full of students, and that attracts visitors, simply for the experience of seeing Rusholme, not for good food. However, its always nice to have a change, and even after all these years, there's still something cool about going for a meal down Rusholme. Maybe it just brings back memories of being a student, when every restaurant gave you free poppadoms on entry, and if you were really broke that week, you ate those, and then left! Anyway.....
Al Bilal was pretty much as you'd expect any middle of the road Indian to be. I'd complain that it was too noisy and busy, that the service was a little unattentive, and that the food was pretty much thown onto the table, but this was a 'curry house' at peak time on a Saturday night, in one of Rusholme's more casual eateries, not that there are any intimate ones. Complaining about this would be about as relevant or sensible as sitting in the Stretford End at Old Trafford in a Man City jersey.
Our run of the mill, typical 'British Indian' starters of Seekh Kebab and Fish Tikka were fine, well cooked and tasty, as were the mains of Chicken Biryani and Lamb Bhuna. The bill for 2 including poppadoms, 2 starters, 2 main courses, 1 rice and 1 naan, with 2 glasses of coke, came to a silly £28, which for the amount you get, is practically giving it away.
Sure, Rusholme's curry houses are no longer the be all and end all of local Asian cuisine, but the story at Al Bilal is the same as anywhere on the curry mile. If you want a good, casual night out with the lads, you cant beat it really. I do feel though, that if you ate at 20 restaurants on the curry mile, you could easily get the impression that they are all served using the same kitchens, share staff and have the same menus. I've even heard a whisper that every restaurant in Rusholme is owned by 3 guys?!
Anyhow, a fun night, decent, cheap, tasty food. The eternal question of 'which is the best restaurant in Rusholme' always pops up. I say toss a coin to decide. They are all equally average on the grand scale, and the best one is the one that you personally favour, for whatever reason.
Rusholme stil remains unique though, and just as much fun as it was when you got free poppadoms 10 years ago! I wouldnt do a runner these days though." ~ chris handley, salford 28/5/08 (visited on a saturday evening)