Our review character was recognised by Hannis Restaurant in Sale, therefore they invited us in to try out their signature dishes – a brave thing to do.
A Turkish, family-run business with the current site opened since 1996. Myself and Mikey buckled up and headed slightly off the radar, out of the city centre to the perfectly entitled south Manchester restaurant for a fine middle-eastern nose bag…
“People come from miles around to Sale to eat here.”
After parking up at the side of the found restaurant and braving the freezing cold for 20 seconds, we were greeted at the door by waitress Emily to a delightful, fairy-lit little restaurant that seats between 35-40 people.
We sat in comfort with a couple of pints of Krombacher (a German lager) and a portion of olives to replenish our palettes.
We opted for the diverse Chef’s Select Banquet. The starter was a hot and cold fusion of fresh Turkish dips and dabs. On the cold side there was: Baba gonouge, Tabouleh, Fasuliya all centered around a big dollop of humus. Hot side: Ispanak (basically spinach with coriander), Pulaki, Turlu, Salma (aka dolmades) specially and carefully hand-made by the father of the restaurant ‘Hovnan’ in an apparent a long process, Chicken sticks (yes no special name), Falafel and Yershig. All neatly arranged for about two whole minutes… beautiful, colourful mouthfuls. Messy finger foods all complemented by the humus.
You know you’re both starving and enjoying the food when it’s silent. It was like feeding time at the zoo. At least until manager Greg joined us for a chat about the traditions of the restaurant.
After going over the food and traditions that Greg was so keen to reflect, it all became quite casual. Three blokes on a Thursday night putting the world to rights. Mikey, myself & Greg really hit it off. Talking about League Of Gentlemen (“Local place for local people” – “We didn’t burn him!”), Karl Pilkington & Ricky Garvais and idiots. Mikey used to go out with a girl from Sale so consequently spent a lot of time in the area and shared familiarities about local pubs and listed buildings with Greg while I silently scoffed. Including love for rugby and ‘Sale Sharks’. Mikey used to go every week to watch them play. Greg quickly retorted with the story of opening exclusively for the team players on a Sunday.
The main course of the banquet arrived; meatballs, beef steak, chicken tikka and mixed lamb kebabs equipped with seasoned rice and shipates. There was also the boats of kebab sauce, one chilli spicy hot and one mild, to be used like glorified ketchup.
Greg joined us for his dinner, tucking into mixed lamb kebab and plenty of chicken tikka. He’s entering a body building competition next year and stated this is the perfect place to work to complement his diet.
We were discussing the beauty and individuality of Mancunians. The dry sense of humour that is so attractive to us and creates a playful banter. If you can hack it. If you’re from down south maybe not so much. This convo was struck up because we taunted our waitress Emily earlier when discussing the difference a restaurant makes when it’s prompt service with a smile. She got it, she passed.
Mikey is a very picky eater. To the point he “eats like a woman” (have you seen me eat – editor Chadders!), intermittently picking at his food. He said there’s wasn’t a single mouthful he didn’t enjoy. He’s not into his spicy food and at Hanni’s unless you add the spice yourself with the supplied sauce, it’s pretty mild/medium spiced.
When it gets covered in sauce it’s anyone’s guess.
We only just about had room for dessert. A medley of sweet came; Baklava, Turkish Delight, Halva and Rum Baba all garnished with strawberry cuts.
The type of sweet and savory treats you get on an all inclusive holiday, you know, the little cakes you wrap up in napkins and put in your bag to enjoy on the beach as my mum does (I obviously don’t carry a handbag, only on Saturday nights 😉 Pretty hum drum really. However, my personal favourite dessert was the Halva. Dry, crumbly but melts in your mouth with a lovely pistachio after taste. And you can never go wrong with ice-cream.
The ingredients are all sourced from Manchester suppliers. The Baklava is from a place that exclusively makes Baklava in Ardwick. The rest from Chorlton and Longsite.
Loyal local patrons Richard and Tom came over to say hello, accordingly because we looked like we were having a séance. Richard said: “I’ve been coming in here for 26 years. The food is just magic and its never changed.” He turned directly to Greg and said: “oh no, they’re going to think I’m a plant! This wasn’t set up by the way.” A real, friendly and polite character.
He continued: “It’s great, authentic, fresh food and great people. I love it. People come from miles around to Sale to eat here. The likes of Mark Riley and Mike Joyce are regulars too.”
There’s a wonderful sense of local community here that obviously appreciate the flavoursome food. They accordingly order the same banquet every couple of weeks. I wouldn’t be surprised if the beer is to be thanked also.
We sat back full to the brim with a nice Metaxa brandy chin wagging away. When in Rome…! Mikey asked if he could take some Salma (signature starter home for his mum to try).
On the ilove-o-meter we’d see Hanni’s Restaurant again as a bit of a booty call, spontaneously as and when we fancy.
If you’re searching for something completely different for your office Christmas party, Hanni’s caters for groups outside serving hours. They’re also offering three Christmas deals, priced from £17.50 for a set menu and are open on New Year’s Eve. Call 0161 973 6606 to make a reservation.
4 Brooklands Road, Sale, M33 3SQ