Scene is not your average Indian. The poppadoms upon arrival are the one and only similarity between your bog standard Indian restaurant. From here on in the focus is very much on sharing food — a sort of Indian tapas if you will. While there is a section of the menu devoted to your more standard curry and rice affair, the recommendations all lie on the previous page, the “sharing and street food” collection.
In a fashion similar to Wagamama, dishes will arrive as and when they’re cooked, and for £5-6 per dish from the street food collection one can try a wide range of dishes for a relatively low price. In order to get a real feel for the average quality of dish on offer from Scene, I decided to order one thing from each of the subsections of the street food menu, that is one from the chicken, lamb, fish, vegetarian, and finally the extras sections.
The ajwani king prawns were well cooked and flavoursome, with the flavour of the charcoal they are grilled over coming through well. The chicken 65, described as a streetfood classic in Chennai, was a touch disappointing, amounting to the equivalent of some overcooked and somewhat bland KFC. The lahsen mushrooms were also a little more bland than one would ideally like but still carried some good flavour. The aloo papri chaat was very good, and something that I have never come across before. The bombay aloo was brilliantly spiced and far from the bland affair that they can so often be.
The standout performer has to be the sultan puri roll, however. Described as a dish fit for sultans, this minced meat kofte served in a wrap alongside salad and a brilliant spicy chutney really was outstanding. The meat was soft and delicately spiced and the chutney went with it perfectly; perfectly being a word that I don’t like to throw around lightly!
I did also choose to get one of the curries from the other section of the menu in order to be able to point people in the street food or curry direction.
The Scene handi gosht came highly recommended, but I am afraid that recommendation comes from Scene themselves, and won’t be echoed by myself. It isn’t that it was unpleasant, the sauce was rich and thick and the lamb clearly slow cooked and falling off the bone. If this had been any other normal indian restaurant this curry would come with my seal of approval, the issue is that following on from the fantastic streetfood, the curry didn’t quite live up to the same standards.
Overall, Scene scores highly in the list of Indian restaurants I have tried in Manchester, although the scoring system here is slightly different. The decor is modern and trendy, with a shisha bar taking up the first third of the restaurant. The prices are good for the location and the service was warm and friendly. If you are someone who doesn’t like sharing a curry, and prefer to order your bog standard bhuna and get on with things then this might not be the place for you, but if you enjoy a more convivial dining experience then Scene comes highly recommended.