"We cook with love” tells us Renu, the diminutive and charming co-owner. There is certainly an enthusiasm and vibrancy to the place which is evidenced by the warm greeting and the slight buzz of conversation from other guests.
We ask for some advice, as we would’ve been there all night deciding. The starters are divided into two sections: Street Foods and Kababs. The maître d' was very helpful and guided us without ever trying to rush. The deceptively simple Lamb Keema Pav proved to be beautifully flavoursome mince served with what looked to be ordinary wholewheat rolls but they complemented the savoury lamb perfectly.
The Aloo Tikki Chat however was a huge surprise – effectively potato patties, but that description does little justice. They came served with wonderful relishes that combined together to give fantastic flavour.
For mains, we’d decided to go all seafood and because we are self-confessed gluttons, we added a side dish of Fish Armritsari to accompany our Prawn Massala and Goan Curry. Despite all three being delicious, it was the Goan Curry that was the star of the show. Such delicate, but robust flavours that combined together to make each fragrant mouthful a pleasure. The pop of onion seed was the icing on the cake (for want of a better food metaphor). The last piece of the lovely garlic naan nearly
caused an argument as it was our final canvas to mop up the curry sauce – again unashamedly.
We were visited by both Renu and her business partner Sanjeev, the ever-smiling and beneficent Head Chef who we noticed made a point of calling at each table, which is a lovely touch that unfortunately seems to have gone out of vogue. They explained that despite being open for less than a month, they are regularly seeing the same faces, which is exactly the type of establishment they wanted to create.
Arnero boasts a surprisingly good wine list. Our Chilean Emiliana Reserva Riesling carried a price tag of just £15.95. We were dubious initially because of the low price, but Renu tells us that this is intentional and she wants to keep the prices as ‘friendly’ as possible. The whole drinks list is in fact extensive and includes a range of beers and cocktails. Furthermore on the value aspect, Arnero provides a very tempting express lunch menu for £6.99 (Lunch Meat Platter) or £5.99 (Lunch Vegetarian Platter), though a la carte prices are not high.
Renu was keen for us to try their desserts, and although we were verging on full, we managed half a slice of toffee and walnut cake between us. We apologised and vowed to leave a little more room for dessert next time. The maitre'd was again our saviour recommending a delightful (and unsweetened) mint tea at the conclusion of our meal. It proved refreshing and palate cleansing and we left the restaurant pleasantly full and planning our next visit.
Arnero is a welcome addition to the centre of Manchester and we hope they are a success as they are passionate and honest about what they want to do. It’s also perfectly juxtaposed against the countless takeaway venues, which further enhances its quality. This new restaurant provides excellent service, atmosphere, value, but most of all fantastic food, that is a little more adventurous and bespoke than what we have become used to in Anglicised South Asian cuisine. They cook with love, and we are in love.
Arnero also offers 10% off for card holders at all times (Pre 8pm Saturday's) and up to 4 people.