Bhaji Pala, not far from Stockport in the suburb of Gatley, has become known for serving up some of the best Indian food in the region.
The all-vegan Indian restaurant, just a couple of minutes walk from the train station, is arguably at the forefront of the south Manchester food revolution.
Just last December, Bhaji Pala was awarded the title of best vegetarian restaurant in the whole of the north at the Asian Restaurant Awards.
And now they’ve done it again, with another top award celebrating their excellent food.
Just this week, the restaurant was crowned vegan restaurant of the year at the prestigious National Curry Awards, hosted at the House of Lords.
Bhaji-Pala is a Marathi word, which translates roughly into green veggies and herbs that are the heart of western Indian vegetarian cooking.
And dishes are as fresh and vibrant as you’d expect.
The starters section boasts a selection of tempting small plates, including hot and cold street food dishes.
You’ll find classics such as crunchy vegetable spring rolls and bhakawadi samosas (spinach, potato and an expert blend of spices in a crispy pastry), as well as the must-try avocado chaat, which sees avocado and chick-peas drizzled with a sweet spicy and sour tangy soya yogurt with a mixture of chutneys.
Tandoori dishes include basil tofu tikka with Indian spices, or fresh broccoli florets marinated in soya yogurt and tandoori marinade.
Crispy rice and lentil dosa pancakes are filled with tofu, masala or vegan cheese and spinach, while an Indo-Chinese dish is adaptation of gobi manchurian, made with broccoli and topped with spring onions.
Heartier main courses are just as full of flavour and creativity, while keeping the freshness and balance.
A dry beetroot curry is tempered with green chillies, curry leaves and whole spices, egg plant is stuffed with peanuts and spices, and black eye beans are cooked in a smooth creamy gravy.
There’s also stuffed potatoes cooked in rich Goan sauce, traditional toor dal cooked with a special cumin and garlic tadka, and a western Indian speciality – snake gourd cooked with chana daal and spices.
And delicious vegan desserts range from Indian baklava with coconut and jaggery filling to sweet sticky toffee pudding.
“To win the vegan restaurant of the year means a lot,” says Bhaji Pala’s Devang Gohil.
“We’ve been through a lot of hard work, plus of course all the lockdowns over the past year – the restaurant has seen so much in the short amount of time it’s been open.
“We’re just so happy about getting this award in the House of Lords. I can’t express how happy I feel that we’ve been recognised this way.”
It’s not the only good news for Bhaji Pala, either.
They’re currently looking to open a second restaurant in Rusholme, so there’ll be another Greater Manchester location to get your fix. Watch this space.
There’s never been a better time to try the best vegan food in the north.