The best world food in Liverpool & Manchester
It’s no secret that the Northwest is a hotbed of international cuisine; a veritable melting pot of cultures, palates and ingredients. Here's your favourite world food places
In a region that’s fast filling up with London chain exports (chill out, Byron), it’s the international indies that are keeping our food and drink scene diverse. Ten or even five years ago, you’d have be hard pressed to find much international cuisine beyond the Chinatowns, chain Italians and Rusholme’s Curry Mile, but the slew of newcomers on this year’s list shows just how far we’ve come. We want spice, we want multiple meats and cheeses, and we want them now.
Enjoying its third consecutive year on this list, Mughli is a go-to for modern Indian eats. It’s been knocking around on the Curry Mile for nearly 20 years, but with a younger team at the helm it’s been transformed into a buzzy, social media-savvy eatery offering its own take on Indian street food. Luckily for us, there are currently three different branches, but it's the original charcoal pit in Rusholme that swung it. Choose from authentic grilled meats, slow-cooked stews and a plethora of snacks and pastries that you’ll want to cradle like a baby.
What to order: the biryani (a house signature), Laziz curry, saag aloo, lamb chops, halloumi menander; all washed down with a Tata Julep.
A real contender for Mughli’s crown, the oh-so-similarly named Mowgli was a major highlight of 2015. It opened a new venue in Manchester this year, but it’s the Liverpool branch that got you buzzing. It’s billed as 'a million miles away from the curry house experience,’ and aims to serve up authentic Indian street food with home cooking at its heart. The signature tiffins are an excellent touch, but it’s the modern, healthy twist on old favourites that makes Mowgli such a winner with today’s crowd.
What to order: one of those tiffins – four tiers of meat, veg and carb chosen by the chefs themselves – Calcutta tangled greens, a couple of roti, and the Gulab Jamun doughballs to finish.
Along with the likes of London export Comptoir Libanais, Bakchich is introducing Northwest palates to the delights of Lebanese food. The family-owned operation opened in Manchester this year, but the original Liverpool branch snagged it this time around. Mezze is the MO here, with platters of Middle Eastern favourites flying out the door. The décor is a major highlight, though, with Moroccan tiles from grandpa’s kitchen floor and wall decals inspired by the golden age of Lebanese cinema.
What to order: a meat or veg mezze platter, mixed shawarma, meshawi and one of the freshly made juices. Why not go all out and order the entire lamb?
On now to the Mediterranean, where we have Manchester newcomer Ibérica. Though one of those pesky London exports we mentioned before, it's a seriously welcome one. This Spanish eatery, located in shiny Spinningfields, promises a high-end, luxury experience for fans of tapas with a twist. The menu is curated by three-Michelin-starred executive chef Nacho Manzano and, beyond the tapas, features chargrilled meats and traditional paella. There’s also a fully stocked deli and a vast wine selection if you needed further convincing.
What to order: Brussels sprouts with Romesco sauce, serrano ham croquettes, fried squid with aioli, grilled ibérico pork pluma, chestnut crème caramel.
We end our culinary journey in Mexico (via Merseyside). Evil Eye is a recurring F&D Survey favourite, but makes its debut in the best world food catagory. Shockingly, burritos are the order of the day here, which no doubt made fans out of the vegetarian and vegan among us. You can opt for ready-made or you can build your own beast. There’s plenty for the burrito naysayer, though, from Cajun-spiced ribs to sweetcorn fritters.
What to order: Cluck Norris burrito (natch), cheese and bean chimichanga, twice-fried chips, churros and chocolate