Posted by: Richard Frost | June 16, 2017

Amma’s Canteen restaurant review in Chorlton

Amma's Canteen cafe-bar and street kitchen on Chorlton's Barlow Moor Road

Amma’s Canteen

You could be forgiven for thinking that south Manchester doesn’t really need another Indian restaurant.

But Amma’s Canteen, which only opened its doors six weeks ago (29 April 2017), does things very differently to Asian Fusion, Sher Akbar, the Great Kathmandu, the Original Third Eye and the rest. Forget your preconceptions about gut-busting kormas, baltis and vindaloos because you won’t find any of those here – instead it’s all about small plates and south Indian street food served as and when it’s ready.

A street-cart named desire

And make no mistake that Amma’s Canteen is all about the food. The street-cart menu is far more adventurous than your average Indian restaurant covering everything from lentil donuts to crispy okra and tamarind wings to madras masala mussels, alongside larger dishes such as dosas, fish curries and slow-cooked spring lamb, and a smattering of desserts like ras malai and poached plantain.

We shared four street-food dishes and a dosa between five of us (unannounced and paid for in full), which was more than enough and came to a very reasonable £25.

Amma's Canteen serves Stuffed Kozhukattai filled dim-sum

Stuffed Kozhukattai

Delicious dosas

The slow-roasted Beef Sukka (£6.25) packed a rich meaty flavour, and the Spiced Sundal (£2.95) slow-cooked chickpeas had a pleasant bite to them while the chilli and lime did a good job of getting the tastebuds tingling.

Perhaps the falafel-like Madras street snacks, Masala Vadai (£4.25), were a bit dry and dense for my taste although the accompanying red cabbage coleslaw provided an enjoyably creamy companion. And the Stuffed Kozhukattai dim sums filled with garden vegetables (£5.75) were superb, combining the delicate flavours of dim sum with a hot and fiery sauce.

Masala Dosa crispy savoury pancake

Masala Dosa

But the star of the show was undoubtedly the Masala Dosa (£5.95). This was every bit as good as the dosas served in award-winning restaurants like Indian Tiffin Room, with a crispy savoury pancake hiding a satisfying crushed potato filling and a choice of spicy or cooling sides to keep things interesting. It really is worth visiting Amma’s Canteen just for their dosas.

Oh and while we’re on the subject of food, kudos to the kitchen for providing so many vegetarian, vegan-friendly and gluten-free options and clearly labelling them all on the menu. This will go down a storm in Chorlton!

Lassi orders at the bar

What else?

Well there’s room for improvement on the drinks front I’d say. They don’t serve alcohol and while you’re welcome to bring your own, I was a bit underwhelmed by the choice of soft drinks offered in-house. I plumped for a mango juice which was fine but nothing special.

And the atmosphere as a whole was good with the near-full restaurant generating a nice background buzz. However, we were sat directly underneath an air-conditioning unit which was blasting out cold air throughout the evening – not really conducive to a relaxing environment.

A trio of dishes served at Amma's Canteen

Beef Sukka, Spiced Sundal and Masala Vadai

Then again, the service was very good with members of staff more than happy to offer recommendations (even to the extent of advising us to order fewer dishes when we got carried away!) and coming back after each dish had arrived to check that everything was ok.

Amma’s Canteen is an independent restaurant that’s hit the ground running and I for one hope that it builds on a very promising start – I’ll certainly be back for those dosas.

Food rating: 9/10
Drink rating: 6/10
Service rating: 9/10
Atmosphere rating: 7/10
Overall rating: 8/10

Amma’s Canteen is located at 285 Barlow Moor Road in Chorlton. It’s next to the original Coriander restaurant opposite Southern Cemetery, less than 5 minutes’ walk from Barlow Moor Road tram stop.

Menu of Indian restaurant Amma's Canteen in south Manchester

Amma’s Canteen menu

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