Run by proprietor Harshit, we were invited down to sample their sumptuous Thali, which comes with a big reputation.
Indian Affair showcases North Indian cuisine cooked Dilli-style.
It’s inspired by the city’s diverse flavours and home-style cooking that makes it a truly unique destination.
The carefully curated menu aims to reflect the traditional and modern sides of Delhi and presents some of their most loved dishes.
What is a Thali?
A Thali is a traditional Indian meal that consists of a variety of dishes served on a single platter.
The dishes on a thali can vary depending on the region of India, but they typically include rice, lentils, vegetables, curries, and chutneys.
Indian Affair’s Thali is split between a vegetarian option and one with chicken and lamb.
We tried the meat Thali, which included succulent chicken tikka, creamy dal makhani, indulgent butter chicken, flavourful lamb rara, fragrant pilau rice, fluffy naan bread, refreshing mint raita, and a perfect finale with the delicate Gulab jamun.
Incredible value at just £18, this stakes a claim to be one of the best Indian restaurants in Chorlton.
The dish that really sings in their Thali is the dal makhani, for its pure richness of flavour.
Dal is maybe not what jumps to mind to try at an Indian restaurant, with fan favourites crowding out this staple dish.
But Indian Affair’s is an absolute delight. The rich, creamy lentil curry is popular all over Northern India and the world for good reason.
It is made with urad dal (black lentils), kidney beans, butter, cream, and a variety of spices.
The origin of Dal Makhani is a bit of a mystery.
Some say it was created by Punjabi chefs in the 1950s, while others believe it has its roots in the Mughal Empire.
Regardless of its origins, Dal Makhani has become a beloved dish throughout India and is now enjoyed all over the world.
Dal Makhani is a relatively time-consuming dish to make, but it is well worth the effort.
The key to making a good Dal Makhani is to cook the lentils until they are very soft and creamy, and the spices should also be balanced so that the dish is not too spicy or too bland.
We asked Harshit about how they make their Dal.
He said: “It’s one thing at an Indian Restaurant you have to get right!
“Our flavours are very nice and subtle, and we focus on simple cooking to represent them nicely.
“We use fresh ingredients and don’t store anything in freezers. That automatically makes cooking it really easy.
“We slow cook it for 24 hours, leaving it on the charcoal overnight. When you come in the morning, it’s a little bit soft because dal is actually like a stone. It’s very hard to cook.
“We don’t use a pressure cooker because that takes away the essence and real flavour. So we leave it on the charcoal in a big pan that can hold over 150 litres of water.
“When you come in the morning, it’s nice and ready. Then we add a level of spice, and it’s done. It’s simple, but because it’s cooked in small batches, and we cook it two to three times a week, that’s why the flavour is very true.
“If I leave it in the fridge, no matter what I put in it, it won’t have the same flavour.”
The chicken tikka at Indian Affair forms the centrepiece of the Thali, surrounded by a fresh salad. It’s a bomb of pure flavour, and so succulent, it melts in your mouth.
The chicken is marinated in a mixture of yoghurt and spices, such as cumin, coriander, turmeric, and garam masala, which infuses it with a flavourful and aromatic taste.
Once marinated, the chicken is skewered and grilled, resulting in tender and juicy pieces with a slightly charred and smoky flavour.
You’ll wish there were another five pieces to gorge yourself on, it’s that good.
Working our way around the plate, next up was the Lamb Rara.
Lamb rara is a dish of minced and chopped lamb cooked in a rich, flavourful curry sauce.
The tender lamb was expertly cooked with a medley of flavours, including turmeric, cumin, coriander, and garam masala. The thick curry sauce, enriched with tomatoes, onions, and ginger, added a luscious touch, resulting in a truly satisfying dish.
It’s a deeply filling and satisfying dish, with masterful flavours that you’ll want to savour.
The lamb is cooked in a thick, flavourful curry sauce. The sauce is made with tomatoes, onions, and ginger, and it is thickened with yoghurt or cream.
The mint raita is an incredibly tasty dip if you’re looking to add some flavour to the lamb too.
Mint raita is a popular Indian condiment that is made with yoghurt, mint, and spices. It is often served as a side dish with Indian food, and it can also be used as a dip for snacks or appetisers.
And in this Thali, it’s a great accompaniment to the lamb and butter chicken and is perfect to dip your naan in. On a rare hot day in Manchester, it’s a rare treat with a cool and creamy base, while the mint and spices add a touch of freshness.
The much-loved favourite butter chicken, also known murgh makhani hits all the classic notes. Tender chicken cooked slowly in a rich and creamy tomato-based sauce.
This is a flavourful blend of spices with butter, cream, ginger, garlic, and various aromatic spices. It’s succulent, rich and delicious. It’s a stone-cold classic in Indian restaurants around the U.K, and when they come as good as this, it’s no surprise why.
To finish things off, you get a delicate Gulub Jamun for dessert.
Gulab jamun is a popular Indian dessert made with milk solids, sugar, and rose water. The word “gulab” means “rose” in Hindi, and “jamun” means “berry.”
It is a sweet, spongy ball that is soaked in fragrant syrup like rose water.
Gulab jamun is said to have originated in the Mughal Empire, and it is now a popular dessert throughout India and Pakistan.
It’s a nice fragrant treat to finish things off, not too heavy and is a nice sweet treat to curtail proceedings.
A small but mighty menu
If you’re looking for something specific, Indian Affair has a great menu catering to almost anything you could want.
While the menu is focused, Harshit says this allows them to focus on high-quality ingredients and quality dishes.
He said: “Our menu is quite small, which is a good sign for me because it allows us to focus on delivering great flavour and taste.
“Our highest-selling dishes are the palak chaat, which is like spinach fritters with homemade sauces, and the lamb chops.
“In the mains, our tawa is a must-try dish. We also have a popular lamb shank dish. We focus on quality and unique flavours.”
Indian Affair also offers an extensive range of cocktails with an Indian touch, like mango mojitos, Chilli martinis, and basil smash.
They make everything fresh, and you can truly taste the difference.
Indian Affair also offers a bottomless lunch menu with coffee cocktails and platters too.
You can find Indian Affair at 362 Barlow Moor Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 8AZ