Story and photo by Nick Cleeve
Food is the focus at Spital Hill’s Mangla restaurant, providing some of the finest Asian cuisine in the city in a no frills, relaxed, atmosphere. The restaurant has been held in high regard for many years with customers coming far and wide to either eat in or take out, and on our visit the chefs didn’t disappoint.
Within seconds of being seated we were nibbling on poppadoms while perusing the wide menu. Fancying something different from my usual dansak or tikka masala I chose a vegetable methi, a delicate dish made with fenugreek and not a dish I’d seen on a menu prior to Mangla. My partner chose bengan bhaji. Being an aubergine dish it had a smooth and deep initial flavour with a lovely spicy tail.
Our friendly waiter had asked how hot we wanted our dishes and we were pleased that the filling portions matched our wishes perfectly. Even though we shared a generous pilau rice and a frankly enormous (and delicious) garlic and coriander naan we would have struggled to eat much more! And the whole meal was remarkably cheap – around £16 for the two of us (without drinks – Mangla isn’t licensed but customers can bring alcoholic beverages if they wish). I would have expected to pay considerably more for a meal of such quality, however I can now afford to go again very soon!