But the Manchester rice and three institution lives on... across the road
Al Faisal, which has been the cornerstone of the Northern Quarter’s curry scene since 1990, closed its doors last week. But it’s not entirely bad news for fans of their famous ‘rice and three’, because the restaurant has immediately relocated to larger premises just across the road.
Al Faisal’s owner, Tariq Malik, was forced to move as the whole dilapidated 19th century block is soon to be demolished to make way for a new apart-hotel.
“I was really very sad when I was told that we had to move out,” he told Confidential, “because I started that business when I was 28. Now I am 57 and it’s hard to move, but I didn’t have a chance against the landlord’s decision.”
The Northern Quarter area used to be the centre of the Asian garment trade from the 1970’s, when many so-called curry cafes sprung up to feed the mainly Indian workers with cheap, wholesome, home style curries.
The eye-catching restaurant on the corner of John Street and Thomas Street was instantly recognisable thanks to its emerald green colour scheme, plastic seating and well signed glass frontage - and the fact that it has barely changed in 28 years.
As soon as he heard the news, a family friend offered them the opportunity to move Al Faisal into his premises across the road – and they jumped at the chance.
Malik promises that the daytime menu in the new restaurant, across the road (in between the Millstone pub and Yadgar curry café), will be exactly the same, with a selection of great value canteen style curries, marinated meat kebabs and fluffy giant naan breads.
A larger new kitchen means they are now able to extend their opening hours to cater for chucking out time at the nearby pubs and clubs, serving fast food items such a pizzas, grilled chicken, burgers and kebabs until 3am on weekends.
Al Faisal’s new restaurant has room for forty covers – ten more than the original. The signature green plastic chairs remain but have been joined by bright red wall vinyl and service counters.
Al Faisal will be open every day from 11am serving grilled meats, ‘rice and three’ curries and naan breads. Fast food will be served late into the night – up to 1am Sunday-Thursday and until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays.
Al Faisal, 69 Thomas Street, Manchester M4 1LQ