I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, Middle Eastern food is my all-time favourite. There is nothing quite like a giant spread of hot dishes, cold dishes, dips, grilled meats and salads for you to tuck into with a group of friends or family. Unlike Joey Tribiani, I am quite partial to sharing my food.
Anyone who has read any of my work before will also know that my other passion in life is a hidden gem. Nothing gives me more pleasure than taking someone to a restaurant that looks a little ‘rustic’ on the outside only to see the complete amazement light up in their eyes when they try the food. Honestly, there is nothing like it.
As you can imagine with a build up like this, Jasmine down in Chorlton covers these bases and is a perfect lesson in why you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
Jasmine is a favourite among locals, and after six years of success in serving the best, freshest Middle Eastern cuisine in the whole of south Manchester, it is easy to see why people love it.
Set up by Mohamed Hacene and Samira Carima Abdi back in 2013, we have seen it go from strength to strength with an ever-growing loyal band of regulars coming back again and again and bringing friends to share the love.
I’m not going to lie to you, it is pretty basic inside with paper tablecloths, basic cutlery and glasses – but there really isn’t any need. Why bother with all the pleasantries when your food is this damn good. And you know what? It really is that good.
The menu is a full and extensive guide to all things Middle Eastern. Kick things off with some delicious freshly made dips like Babaghanouj (smoked aubergine), silky smooth hummus and Mouhamara made with walnuts and red pepper. These are all served with perfectly ballooned pita breads which are obviously made freshly to order and are hands down the best I’ve tasted.
If you want something a little naughtier to dip, I would strongly recommend the Lebanese pastries or Kibbeh. The former is a bit like a pizza- topped with spinach and cheese and baked in a hot clay oven. The latter is a fried ball of potato stuffed with minced lamb and aromatic spices. I hate to think how bad they are for you, but my god are they delicious.
Jasmine can really boast that they know their way around a grill too. Lamb is what they do best so I would look to the Kofte Kebab made with spiced minced lamb or the succulent Shish kebab.
Pair these with a few of their fresh salads like Fattoush or Tabouleh (or both) for the full experience. I enjoy the rich notes of the Makmour (grilled aubergine with tomato) with my meat too for the contrast of flavours, texture and temperature which is so signature from food from this part of the world.
One thing that Jasmine is popular for is the fact that it is BYOB. Bringing your own booze takes the stress out of dining and keeps things super relaxed. More importantly, it keeps costs low. A meal for two with about 7 or 8 dishes at Jasmine will cost you (approx.) £30 all in.
For a long time, I wasn’t sure what I liked the most about Jasmine. But on my umpteenth return, I discovered that it wasn’t just the price, the friendly and gracious staff, the bring-your-own-booze or the quirky (slightly weird) interior– it’s the food.
It has me going back again and again and that is exactly what you should look for in a neighbourhood restaurant if you ask me.
Jasmine, 569 Barlow Moor Rd, Manchester M21 8A
0161 881 1442