Restaurants Of Manchester
James Martin Manchester
Wah Ji Wah Manchester Reviews
Address37 King Street West, Manchester, M3 2PW
"Curry on King Street West"
Wah Ji Wah Manchester Review Wah Ji Wah Manchester Review
Wah Ji Wah Manchester Review
Restaurants Of Manchester (Thursday 31st October 2019)

Key: 5 stars = World Class!   4 stars = Fantastic   3 stars = GOOD   2 stars = OK   1 star = Poor

Decor & Ambience
It has to be said; what a great looking space as you enter, with a small area being expensively fitted out to make an impression.  Striking modern décor, with vibrant colours, wakes up the senses as soon as you arrive.  

The pass, overseen by Chef Manish, has a view over the whole dining room.  It's also where the stoves are, which shows a proud Chef who wants to see exactly what's going on in his dining room, whilst also doing the cooking at the same time.  You feel in safe hands straight away.

A little small and a table for 2 is just about 2, but that’s not really their fault and something you can't avoid.  The space they have is handled well and maximised though.
Wah Ji Wah Manchester Review Wah Ji Wah Manchester Review
Poppadoms & Relish Tray (£3.50) Poppadoms & Relish Tray (£3.50)
Price Fantastic
In short, you can't grumble at paying these prices for a curry in the city centre, within a dining room that's had a pot of money spent on it. Poppadoms, dips, 3 starters, 2 curries, a rice and a naan, with 2 pints and a shared pudding, came in at about £65 including tip. 

Wine mark-ups were also splendid value, with some bottles being only around x2.25 of RRP.  That’s superb value these days, with the norm in town now being around x3.

The 'optional' 10% service charge, which is now disappearing even down in that there London at most non top end places, was slapped on the bill here.  We don’t like it.  It's rubbish.  Places need to stop doing it.
Wah Ji Wah Manchester Review Wah Ji Wah Manchester Review
Peshawari Lamb Champ (£7.95) Artichoke Ke Galawat (£5.95)
Service Fantastic
Friendly, engaging, prompt, attentive.  We honestly couldn't have asked for more from our server.  From start to finish he was chatty, knowledgeable (a lesson on Chinese potatoes was well appreciated), and fitted the bill perfectly.  No excessive waits on dishes arriving, or for clear downs, and at no time was he overbearing….. or any of the other massively overused food write up terms that are centred on service points.

There was nowhere to put coats, which led to most of the chairs being adorned with a variety of Berghaus, Primark, Barbour, Next, George, and Kors, which looked a bit naff in the slick dining room.  But then it's a compact place, so coat hanging space is a big ask.

As we left, we were asked 'Don’t forget to write about us on Tripadvisor if you enjoyed yourself?', which could make some people feel on the spot.  We smiled and said 'We don’t use TA.  Its full of wannabe restaurant critics who don’t have a clue, and there's too much of that in Manchester as it is', before disappearing into the night with a wry smile, already working out how said banter could be worked into this write up.
Wah Ji Wah Manchester Review Wah Ji Wah Manchester Review
Onion bhaji (£3.95) Cobra (£4.95)
Food & Drink 4 stars
Curry is one thing that we do genuinely well in Manchester, and us Mancs adore a curry of some form.  It's almost nailed on that when a mate visits from anywhere far flung, they ask 'can we visit the Curry Mile?', without realising that it's not what is once was down there, and that most of the best places are now in the city centre.  We are known for it, and have been for eons; something that we regularly forget amongst ourselves as we clamber for Michelin stars and upper end places to open.  So, we have subconscious high expectations when eating a curry in the city due to our rich history of doing it well.

Now a few months ago, Wah Ji Wah quietly opened on King St West, and has since been building a solid reputation as a place to grab a decent curry in the city centre.  Chef Manish has good pedigree, starting his culinary journey in Agra; a place which holds fond memories as part of my own Indian food education.  One of the best Indian experiences I've ever had was in Agra, a sturdy stone's throw from the Taj Mahal.  It was a 'restaurant' by the road, the kitchen was powered by a V8 engine sat on the pavement, gushing out petrol fumes, breaking every British restaurant health and safety regulation in a heartbeat.  But it was one of those perfect food moments, where everything just worked.  So, how could the Agra influence translate to King Street West in a shiny dining room? 

Lamb Chops (£7.95) were well cooked, adorned with layers of spiced flavour, sauced with a vibrant mint sauce to give that classic flavour hook up and a blast of freshness.  A great looking dish, lifted above the presentation which you'd expect from your usual curry house. 

Artichoke Kebabs (£5.95), listed as 'Artichoke ke Galawat' on the menu, were accurate to their name. The word galawat, related to the word gala, literally means 'soft enough to swallow'.  These soft hand-formed patties were flavoursome, well spiced, and again a triumph of presentation.  

Onion Bhaji (£3.95) was a third starter that we didn’t really need, but ordered it as it's a barometer of any Indian restaurant's calibre.  These were presented as a pair, with good texture on the bite, spiced perfectly, and were a good rendition of everybody's original Indian favourite snack.  Once again, presentation was given a nice boost via posh Denby crockery and some squeezy-bottled plate garnish. 

Wah Ji Wah Manchester Review Wah Ji Wah Manchester Review
Gosht Banjara (£10.95), Chicken Jalfrezi (£8.95), Pulao rice (£3.25) Garlic & Coriander Naan (£2.50)
Main courses came around and we opted for the Gosht Banjara (£10.95); a Rajasthani classic, lamb filled spice fiesta, with slow cooked cubes of meat, which transformed into strands with minimal effort via that low and slow cooking.  It was a generous portion of lamb too, robed in a rich and fiery gravy.  A really solid lamb curry, and, it was good to see a Banjara on the menu, as it's not something you see too often amidst the usual Bhunas and Kormas. 

Chicken Jalfrezi (£8.95), ordered by our spice fanatic Editor, upped the spice game even more than its lamby partner.  It was too spicy for me, making my brow weep like an open tap, but that's down to my lack of spice tolerance.  It was a Jalfrezi after all.  The chicken was flavoursome, plentiful, and it was another solid curry, creating a good rendition of a now British classic. 

We never usually order puddings in Indian restaurants as they are usually pretty poor in all honesty.  It's just not part of Indian cuisine ultimately.  We decided to dodge the usual kulfi and gulab jamun, and ordered the Ginger Brownie (£5.25).  We are brownie addicts who adore ginger, so the mash up grabbed us.  It was a lovely cake, served warm, being well infused with that promised ginger, and came with a nice vanilla ice cream. 

Lamb chops could have benefitted from a little char on their edges from that tandoor, to give a more smoky flavour.  The artichoke kebabs were a tad greasy, and with all that spicing and such a smooth texture within, the artichoke itself was lost amidst binding ingredients and that lovely spice. And the Ginger Brownie was a square of cake, not a brownie.  It lacked that key feature of being gooey and rich, right on the edge of being under baked.  And some of the chicken in the Jalfrezi was quite overcooked.

Not the food itself; but whilst crockery was wholly expensive and looked great, the curries came served in very plain white bowls.  Very nice plain white bowls, but it felt a little flat in comparison to the rest of the high end tableware in play.

The wine list is sorely lacking options, especially ones which you'd typically pick to pair with curry/spice, such as classic Alsatian Rieslings or Gewurtz examples?  But then let's not get too in-depth over wine pairings with a Jalfrezi.  We instead ordered a couple of Cobras, which did the job perfectly.
Wah Ji Wah Manchester Review Wah Ji Wah Manchester Review
Ginger & Walnut Brownie (£5.25) Mukhwas
Overall Very Good
So, the city centre has a solid new curry offering, with lovely décor, a  team who clearly care about their customers, and some very good cooking indeed.  We loved the use of high end crockery, with clear thought and expense going into the décor, making it feel like a solid mid-range place.  Prices are also good considering the quality of overall experience.

With a distinct yet welcome lack of Manchester petrol fumes, Wah Ji Wah is able to offer the city a twist on the Indian dishes we have all come to know and love.

A bit cramped, no coat hangers, get some smaller candle holders as they dominate the tables, and get some nice modern curry bowls. ~ Restaurants Of Manchester (31st October 2019)
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