Bakchich, Manchester

After a great nights sleep at our hotel in Manchester, and a swim in the pool (or in my case, walk about in the water because I can’t swim properly!) Sara and I took a walk into the city centre.

Our entire reason for visiting Manchester was to get some new scissors for Sara (like in the wizarding world of Harry Potter, scissors need to choose Sara, much like a wand chooses its wizard!) after her previous ones were lost, which for a teacher is an essential bit of kit!

Before we went on the hunt, we stopped by Ed’s Easy Diner for a hearty breakfast, pancakes, hash browns, bacon, sausage patty, griddled eggs and maple syrup, with a mug of coffee (free refills, too!) so nice and healthy!

After meeting up with one of my oldest friends, Edward, and a walk around some of the shops, scissors were obtained and off we headed for our lunch reservation.

Bakchich is a Lebanese restaurant, just off Oxford Road in Manchester (so ideal for anybody heading to a gig at The o2 Ritz or Manchester Academies for some pre-mosh scran!) After spending a few years in Kuwait, Sara developed a taste for Middle Eastern food, one of her favourite places actually being a Lebanese restaurant, so I’d been meaning to visit here for a while now.

On entering there is a display of produce and other Arabic goods you can buy, I was sorely tempted by much of it, but knew I wouldn’t really know what to do with anything!

Seated in one of the comfy side booths, we looked through the menus and enjoyed the Arabic pop music (which I really enjoyed because it’s like Eurovision music, super cheesy!)

We unintentionally made life easy for the staff by all ordering the same drink from their juice menu, Lemon, Lime & Mint. Tangy and refreshing, perfect as it was a warm, yet muggy day outside.

From the mezze portion of the menu Edward ordered Batata Harra, spicy sautéed potato with red pepper, coriander, garlic, cumin & fresh red chilli. Very much like a more fiery patatas bravas you may find in tapas bars, but with the earthiness from the cumin.

Sara and I shared the Dip Platter, an excellent hommos, labneh and baba ghanoush, the former two drizzled with za’atar infused oil, and the latter two with sweet crunchy pomegranate seeds. I’ve never been a fan off hommos/hummus/houmous (however you choose to spell it) having only ever really tried the wallpaper paste variety sold by supermarkets, but I could easily work through a bowl of the type served by bakchich if I was given enough bread to dunk into it. The labneh was sharp and creamy at the same time, and the baba ghanoush was smoky from the aubergines being cooked over charcoal.

There is so much to choose at Bakchich, but I eventually settled on Chicken Thighs Meshawi, skewers of chicken thighs marinated with Lebanese spices. The charcoal grill really added so much flavour to this, resulting in mostly tender chicken with a smoky crust. I say mostly because unfortunately some of the chicken, presumably it was closer to the charcoal, was rendered completely inedible and had been turned to charcoal itself. This was served with Arabic rice, and a side salad including salty pickles, topped with lemony sumac. I would have enjoyed a tahini yoghurt dressing drizzled over the meat, however.

Edward chose Lahma Meshawi, skewers of Lebanese spiced, marinated lamb. Edward chose to have his with Arabic bread, but on reflection wished he had some of the delicious rice (seriously, the rice is amazing) and he also said that whilst the lamb was tasty, it also got a bit dry, again, possibly requiring a sauce of some kind to compliment it.

Sara was overjoyed to see that her regular choice from Mais Alghanim, the Lebanese restaurant she frequented in Kuwait, was on the menu here. Shish Taouk, was again a charcoal grilled dish of marinated chicken with Lebanese spices, and brought back many fond memories of food in Kuwait (side note, I can’t wait to visit there and eat all of the things!)

We left the vibrant, colourful restaurant far too full for dessert, but with definite plans to return as soon as possible! I love this style of food, it’s aromatic without having to be too spicy, and everything tastes amazing when cooked over charcoal, right?

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