Cheadle has a special place in my heart. I lived there until the age of 21 and then for a wild 6 months when I lived alone back in 2008. When I was a teen it used to be the place to go drinking with several good pubs and a few late openers that brought drinkers from all over Stockport. Many of my oldest friends still live in Cheadle so I am a regular visitor but I have always struggled with the question, “where is good to eat there”? I mean there is a few chain pubs and a Pizza Express which, are fine, but what if you want something a bit different? Cheadle has really grown in the last few years with Turquoise and Istanbull Grill opening on the High Street providing that ‘something different’ people crave when dining. Something even more different and something I don’t think you can find in the rest of the North West is Indian Tiffin Room. It is nestled away down a side street off the main Wilmslow Road in a premises which, my Dad tells me, used to be a hairdressers. The main restaurant is small with plain tables laid with pretty silver mugs.
I visited with my parents on a Sunday evening to celebrate my recent graduation. We had booked and we managed to get the last table, it was bustling! We were greeted warmly and shown to our table with an introduction to the food and how it is best eaten. Our waiter recommended that we order some starters ‘Indian tapas’ style and then move onto curry dishes if we were still hungry. Doing as we were told we ordered several from the starter menu as well as a few tiffin dishes which, we were told, are slightly larger.
As with Spanish tapas dishes they are brought to the table when they are ready. Up first was gobi Manchurian and the dish I was most looking forward to after Zoe on Twitter recommended it to me. Cooked in an Indo-Chinese style (an adaptation of Chinese style cooking with Indian tastes coined from the small Chinese community who lived in Kolkata for over a century) this cauliflower dish had a kick of spice but a sweetness not dissimilar to a traditionally Chinese sweet and sour dish. All three of us adored this and even considered ordering another.
The chicken lollipops were beautifully crispy on the outside with softly spiced chicken on the inside. My Mum will say she doesn’t like chicken wings but gobbled these down without a word. That is a success on her behalf.
My second favourite dish was the channa batura. Chickpea masala which had been slow cooked meaning the chickpeas were melt in the mouth soft in a lovely tomato sauce served with puffed bread. Similar to naan but a lot lighter this dish was just divine. There was also loads of it and I was gutted to have to leave some due to my tummy being full.
The samosa were huge with a thick and crispy coating. We also ordered vada pav described as an Indian vegetable burger in a bun. The burger itself was like the samosa and difficult to share with it being served in a bun but we were happy to slice it up and enjoy a piece each. The idly was different; rice and lentil steamed dumpling had a bread like texture on the palette and would have been better with a touch more spice. It wasn’t my favourite but I am so glad I got to try something so different.
Something else completely different was the masala dosa. The thin rice and lentil crepe had a potato masala in the middle and the crepe was just gorgeous. Light, flavourful and crispy, I didn’t even try the potato masala. It didn’t need it in my opinion and I would order a plain one on my next visit.
With room for more we decided to share a lamb Kashmiri and a chicken biryani. Both are curries I would consider in a regular Bangladeshi restaurant but here they are given a twist. The lamb was soft, succulent and fat free with a tasty sauce that wasn’t too hot. I loved the pomegranate seeds on the biryani. The rice was a little dry but perfect with a drizzle of the accompanied chutney and the occasional pop of pomegranate fruitiness.
Throughout the meal our waiter checked in with us. He obviously asked how the food was but expanded to ask what had been our favourite and least favourite dish. He seemed genuinely interested in our opinion and asked if we had been to India or experienced this type of food before. It was a lovely touch and we felt welcomed by his company.
Stuffed to the brim with no more room we couldn’t resist the mysore coffee. Served in a little metal cup and saucer we were advised to tip it into the saucer and back into the cup a few times to cool down the drink. Like a little cappuccino this coffee was incredibly milky but cooled down the spice left in our mouths and our tummies.
With a bottle of wine and a couple of bottles of beer the bill came to £78 for 3 of us, what a bargain. We all came away singing the praises of Indian Tiffin Room and trying to plan when we could return. I can only say I am devastated that this little gem wasn’t open when I lived in Cheadle. The public transport links to Cheadle from the City Centre aren’t great but I am lucky to have close friends living on the next street. I better get them to make me up a bed… on a regular basis…