When I was wondering what I should write about this month, I tried to think about the kind of insider tips and information I could pass on to prospective Manchester students that would vastly improve their experience of the city. I’ve written in the past about some of the cultural attractions in the city, the surrounding countryside, and some of the opportunities and trials and tribulations of postgrad life but it occurred to me that I hadn’t really addressed the culinary aspects of Mancunian studenthood.
Most postgrad students in the city aren’t going to have the ability to attend expensive restaurants on a regular basis, and if you’re anything like me you will become pretty tired pretty quickly of trendy diners which make you queue to get in and serve huge piles of grease- and cheese-slathered meats, washed down with eye-wateringly expensive cocktails served in old jam jars, or the like.
“…take your friends and watch their faces light up with curried contentment.”
Have no fear! I am here to impart the wisdom of my decade of extensive research into Manchester takeaways and give you the connoisseur’s guide to eating tastily and cheaply in the big city. So ditch the Domino’s, sack off Solita, and prepare to be converted.
Pancho’s Burritos have been a mainstay of the Arndale Food Market for a number of years and have recently branched out with a restaurant just off Oxford Road. For less than £6 you can get a super tasty burrito with your choice of filling, as well as all the extra trimmings like refried beans, jalapeños, salad, and lashings of chilli sauce. I happily stand by the claim that these are by far the best burritos you can get in Manchester (and the cheapest!). In the new branch you can wash it down with your selection of premium Mexican beers (Negra Modelo for the aficionados) or with a pint at the Arndale Microbar in town.
3 Wishes Fulfilled
I have lost count of the number of hazy evenings where excessive inebriation was staved off with a visit to Little Aladdin, just on the edge of the Northern Quarter. This place is a proper best-kept Manchester secret (if you’re reading this blog you are joining the privileged few) where you can get your choice of three big dollops of gorgeous curry out of 8 or 10 options, with rice, for about £4 (add a bit extra for a freshly-cooked chapatti!). It looks rather unassuming from the outside and being up a side street may seem a little obscure, but trust me, take your friends and watch their faces light up with curried contentment.
Have Your (Fala)Fill
A recent entry into my top five go-to munch stops, with branches in Rusholme (10 minutes from uni) and just off Piccadilly Gardens, Go Falafel are the number one of a new breed of street food/juice bar around the city. For £2.50 (or £3 in town) you can get a medium falafel wrap with all the trimmings: salad, chilli, tahini, hummus, spicy potatoes, and pickles. Tasty, tangy, veggie, and cheap. The only reason to brave the extra five minute gauntlet past Greggs in the lunchtime hunger games.
As the proud owner of an “I ♥ Popolino’s” t-shirt for many years (£1.50 a pop) I don’t want to repeat what has already been said on this blog, but seriously, the BEST takeaway pizzas in town come from Popolino’s: whether it’s lunchtime, tea-time, or 2am, you’re always met with a smile and consistently top-quality and great value grub.