Although Manzil’s is part and parcel of a night out in Portswood, two intrepid reporters went while sober to see how it stacks up as a place to eat earlier than 2am.
After some initial confusion as to which late-night Portswood eatery was being reviewed, we made it to Manzil’s, which emerged as a beacon of light on Bevois Valley.
An ability to walk straight rarely seen in Manzil’s customers was seen in both reviewers.
First came the obligatory poppadoms. It came with four dips, two onion-based, a mango chutney and a sort of yoghurt with a minty flavour.
We very much liked the dips, and the mango chutney in particular. The poppadoms were solid, if not exceptional.
For mains, we ordered Lamb Karai and Chicken Kashmir with Pilau Rice and Peshwari Naan.
When the mains arrived, it also came with a Bombay Potato on the house. The menu implied this was the case for meals for two, but it’s not something I’ve seen before. Not complaining.
In both dishes, the meat was excellent, cooked to a tenderness that a lot of curry houses often fail to achieve. The rice was also well cooked.
However, the highlight of the mains for both of us was the naan bread. It was soft and easily torn, practically melting in the mouth. Particularly for the Peshwari naan, the taste of the bread came out very well.
The main criticism here is that in the Kashmir dish, although fruit is part of the dish, it tasted slightly strange and out of place.
The portions were very generous, not a bad thing, but neither reviewer was able to finish all the food. Best saved for after a night in Jesters or some serious exercise.
The Bombay Potato was good as far as the potato went, but could have done with stronger flavour.
Washed down with plenty of the obligatory tap water, we left after wiping hands with the little towels.
Overall, it was excellent value for money, the meal for both of us coming to slightly under £14.
The service was both friendly and quick, with it only being around 10 minutes between ordering and the mains arriving, and the staff are welcoming and friendly without being overbearing.
Despite a couple of fairly minor things, we both thought our meals to be of high quality and well cooked.
This review was part of a series to find the absolute best curry in Portswood. Best value for money, yes, best service, yes and the Manzil’s experience is all part of being a student in Southampton.
It is absolutely a solid choice, but you will probably be able to find more refined curries elsewhere should you have the inclination and money.