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“Is this the 1980's?”
Review of Aladdin Restaurant

Aladdin Restaurant
Ranked #509 of 2,329 Restaurants in Manchester
Price range: $0 - $27
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Reviewed October 31, 2013

We arrived at 8pm, it looks like a 90's takeaway from the outside but as soon as you pass through the door it's like portal to... the 1980s. It's like a strange mix of my nans house and an 80's curry house, but with added grainy black and white copies of ancient ruins, random horse statues, hand painted strange flowery murals, 99p potted plants from tesco and even more curious items (my favourite was the really tatty old tiger rug on the wall).

We were greeted by friendly staff and promptly taken to our table, as you would expect. Up the old worn out stairs we went, past a stack of chairs as high as the ceiling. Best place for them really, right by the stairs.

We got a couple of drinks. A coke (can of), a jug of water, and a mint tea which came in a lovely 80's teacup and saucer, no arabesque vessel, no gilded samovar, it tasted alright though but I make better tea myself.

For starters we ordered hummus which came with pitta and sujuk (lamb sausages). The hummus was very nice, topped with cumin powder and a nice olive oil. The pitta was just a packet job warmed up, it was nice though. The sujuk were alright I've had better from Turkish takeaways. However these did seem well made and were nicely spiced you could appreciate the lamb flavour, but they weren't executed very well two of them were very dried at one end.

For mains we ordered the Aladdin Pasha (ooooh, sounds exciting) which came with rice and the Maklobeh (rice with lamb, aubergine, pine nuts, herbs and spices). Now this is where it gets disappointing. The Aladdin Pasha was just some plain kofte in a very basic tomato, onion and bell pepper sauce. The rice was OK, it had vermicelli in it which is sort of fun I guess. Where's the Arab flair? Where was the bahārāt, the somaq, the pomegranate molasses? Boring, definitely not fit for a Sultan. The Maklobeh was pretty much the same, it was basic rice with some lamb pieces and fried aubergine slapped on top with a miniscule sprinkle of cinnamon and parsley. Where were the pine nuts? I didn't see a single pine nut. There was also no yogurt or tahina sauce accompaniment, the lamb wasn't cooked with any spice, the rice was devoid of spice, the aubergines were spiceless too, it was a very bland affair. This is not Arab food as I know it, Arab food is rich, fllavoursome and spicy with generous portions. I got a small spiceless portion and for £9? A bit of a joke.

We got the bill, to which service charge was added. 10%. A 10% service charge for a party of two? Cheeky, all they did was bring us a couple of dishes, glasses and a jug. Efforts worth 10% of our food bill? No.

It's just not very good in here, very disappointing. It seems like Arab food on a budget, get as many in as you can and give them the basic stuff with no frills. This place needs a revamp. You can go to Rusholme in one of the many Afghan places and get food much nicer, much more of it and much cheaper.

Aladdin had a magic carpet, this place just has old tattered ones on the wall.

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1  Thank SimonCohen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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173 - 177 of 250 reviews

Reviewed October 29, 2013

The tables were dirty, the waiter forgot our order, the food arrived dry and cold, the plates were cold, the restaurant was so busy you couldn't hear yourself think - used to be a great place but they got greedy and extended it - now everything that was great about it is not

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Thank fleuryw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 20, 2013

A group of friends chose this place, after one of us had previously eaten here, for our Turkish Hol reunion meal. It reminded us of the best restaurants we had eaten at in Turkey, with everything faultless by the Manager & Staff.
I would recommend that anyone who wants the ambience and food of Turkey to eat here, albeit you need to book in advance as it is naturally popular.

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Thank Thee_Don
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 13, 2013

Aladdin is about 4 miles south of the city centre close to the world famous Christie Hospital on Wilmslow Road, and in fact when I sat down in the restaurant for lunch on my first visit there were four female clinicians seated at the table behind me discussing Nature publications etc. etc. The outside of the restaurant is quite confusing and very much in need of an update, as the tired awning and exterior in general make it appear like an uninviting fast food takeaway, which it is not. Inside was comfortable and my welcome pleasant and reserved.

For starters on my first visit I had fatayer, akin to spring rolls but with spinach, onions, parsley, herbs, spices, and pine kernels inside. These were freshly cooked in vegetable oil and once they began to cool they were very tasty indeed, to the point where I could very easily have managed another one at least (2 per portion, it was quite a small serving). For main I ordered mujaddara, seasoned rice and brown lentils, with vegetable oil and fried onions and Arabic salad. The mujaddara was delicious and the accompanying salad very good, both of which came in very generous portions, as one would expect from a genuine Middle Eastern restaurant.

From the dessert menu I chose muhalbieh, cold firm milk pudding served with pistachio nuts and seasoning. The milk pudding was similar to panna cotta (and then some!), absolutely exquisite. I finished with a large Arabic coffee and an even larger smile. On subsequent visits, the welcome has again been pleasant and I had fatteh for the first time which was just delicious, chick peas cooked in yogurt with herbs, spices and pine kernals, and konafa for dessert which was not as good as I've had elsewhere and slightly disappointing. Though some of my main courses were very good I have since eaten better Levantine food locally and eating on Edgware Road on regular trips to London have something to compare the food with both locally and there.

In conclusion I would say that the food is very good, occasionally excellent, and the service is warm, pleasant and welcoming.

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Thank Nimitta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 24, 2013 via mobile

I went to Aladdin on a friends recommendation and I wasn't disappointed. There's no point in pretending this is an extraordinary place but it is simple and comfortable and what they do, they do very well. I ordered a chick pea starter, a chicken kebab and a Lebanese salad. The salad was simple tomato, cucumber and lettuce with a nice citrus dressing, the kebab was tasty and perfectly cooked and the starter was delicious. There was easily enough food for two even though I dined on my own and the bill came to £15. A bargain. I'll definitely go back. Worth noting it is a 'bring your own' if you want alcohol.

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Thank Jem71London
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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