Sanmini's has been one of our favourite restaurants since about 2010. It had been awarded a 'three' in the Good Food Guide, so we were instantly intrigued. London's famous Indians Benares (Atol Kochhar) and Tamarind (Alfred Prasad) only scored a three and four respectively and they had caught the eyes of Michelin. We had to investigate!
Sanmini's is a family affair. Doctors and bankers by trade, the Sankar family run the entire operation, headed by mum and Managing Director Mini. The restaurant is tiny, but this is by no means a bad thing. The family are welcoming and friendly, and the whole experience feels like you are dining in their home (albeit one with waiter service and a menu).
|The Sankar Family - photo from sanminis.com|
It's positioned in the old gate house on Ramsbottom Lane. You enter via a side door and arrive in a small bar area. Next door is the dining room, which has just five tables so you must make a reservation at least a week or so in advance of the date you want to visit. The food is traditional South Indian, so please don't expect to see Chicken Tikka Massala on the menu, however the owners are happy to guide you through which dish might suit you if you are unsure.
Poppadums are a bit special at Sanmini's. They are made from scratch on site and are served with the most amazing pickle tray ever. One is a spicy mix of potatoes, kidney beans and tomatoes which is served warm, the next is alike a tamarind concoction, there's a twist on mango chutney and a raita which tasted like it had a little mustard mixed in with it. I could eat the whole bowl of the one with kidney beans in!
Apologies for the quality of the pictures, but the lighting wasn't great!
Portion sizes are quite large at Sanmini's. Our starters (below) contained about as much meat as most mains! I had Chilli Chicken and my husband had Mutton Chukka Varuval, something he has been craving since the first time we visited.
|Mutton Chukka Varuval|
|Kothu Kari Kozambhu|
We were also particularly impressed that they even have their own ale these days! Nice touch.
I know we will be making a return visit to Sanmini's, as we haven't had a bad meal there yet. The service is attentive without being intrusive and their enthusiasm for food is apparent at every course. They even offered to pack up the rest of my main course which I couldn't manage. Yes, I did go on to have a dessert. What's your point?
Go to Sanmini's if you want a different type of dining experience. Lovely people, fantastic food, great atmosphere. Perfect.
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Disclaimer: Sanmini's did not pay me to do this review. I went there because I needed light at the end of the tunnel after organising the Horwich Summer Fete. It was the perfect wind-down.