Sanam Indian Restaurant buffet, Manchester, review

Salads and sauces at Sanam Indian restaurant in Longsight, Manchester
Sanam’s salad bar, one of my favourite things
Now there’s something you should know about me, I just love
a good buffet.  
Yes, I know all-you-can-eat can only end badly.  At best, you can’t overeat and feel like you
haven’t got your money’s worth.  At
worst, you can overeat, and are left feeling uncomfortably sick and bloated for
a week.      
I usually sway towards the middle.  I load up on starters and always get too full
to appreciate the mains. 
However, with the memory of a gnat, I still go back time and
again for my starter-laden meal.  Why?
Buffets for me are a great way of trying a bit of everything.  You’re never left in that awful situation of
making a poor meal choice, and spending the rest of the night envying the plates
of others.  You can load up on salad,
have a scoop of each ice-cream flavour (and cake, if you’ve got room for it)
and then go back for a main as your dessert. 
That’s right, the buffet is very much the poor-woman’s
taster menu.         
Pizza and Asian fusion starters at Sanam with salad
Sanam’s starters – East meets west and a lot of mess 
I also feel that Manchester is one of the best cities for a
buffet.  Now I say that because I lived
there for years, and I am yet to be proven wrong.
I recently ate at one of my fail-safes – an Indian buffet at
Sanam restaurant in Longsight, Manchester. 
At a cost of £10, the buffet is a cheap and cheerful treat.
For those not from Manchester, Sanam is one of the oldest
establishments in the famous curry mile.   
While other restaurants have been and gone, Sanam has stood the test of
time.  Family-owned, in the last year one
of the brother’s branched out and opened a Sanam restaurant in Longsight,
offering a buffet-only menu.  

Since then,
it has become a dead-cert for eating out in Manchester.  
As always, I load up on the starters, but they are soooo
good that it’s worth it.  From aloo tikka
(potato cakes) to seekh kebabs and chicken tikka, you’re not short of
A plate of curry rice and salad at Sanam buffet in Longsight, Manchester

Another thing I really like about Sanam’s buffet is that
they have an extensive salad selection. 
I’m a sucker for a good salad, and rather than offering some obligatory
lettuce and tomato, Sanam has an extensive and fresh salad bar which boasts
Russian salad, spiced chickpeas, olives and a selection of yoghurts and
dips.  I stock up on salad as a way of
off-setting the grease of the starters themselves. 
A bowl of spicy Chinese chicken soup served at Sanam buffet in Manchester
Sanam’s oriental spicy soup – a revelation 

As well as Indian food, Sanam does offer very basic junk
food such as pizza and chips, but these are very much a sideshow to the Indian
dishes, which of course they do best. 
However, a really nice surprise was the oriental sweet and spicy chicken
soup.  The soup was very spicy and flavoursome,
but the chef avoided going down the ‘Indian’ route, and kept the flavours very
oriental.  For a place that does Indian
food well, this was a nice and unexpected addition.             
Sanam's oriental section serves sweet chilli chicken
Sanam’s oriental offering – sweet and sour chicken with noodles
Typically, I did get my fill of starters, which meant I couldn’t
fully appreciate the mains.  However, I
do think that the starters are the best part of an Indian meal, though next
time I have a buffet I may attempt to mix it up and have my main first – now
that’s a novel idea!  
Despite my fullness, I had some nice daal and lamb curry
with potatoes.  Oh, and then I had a
couple of scoops of ice cream that I couldn’t finish, though not for want of
trying.  Again, Sanam offers a couple of
cake options, ice-cream and traditional Asian desserts such as gulab jamon and
rice pudding.
I have to also mention the service at Sanam.  Perhaps it’s because it was a quiet weekday,
but I was really impressed by the speed of service.  Plates were cleared as soon as we got up for
the next course (we weren’t expected to re-use the same plate each time) and
the manager even poured my soup and brought it to my table (he saw my hands
full with a plate of starters.   I don’t
want to tar all establishments, but this hospitality and care is usually
lacking in many ‘curry in a hurry’ buffets.      
One criticism I would make is that buffet mains are never as
good as off-the menu.  So if you do want
a nice quality main dish and are less fussed about tasting every starter on
offer, you may want to go for a traditional sit down and serve restaurant.    
However, Sanam restaurant is great for group parties, as
there’s no fussing or dithering over the menu or fighting over the bill.  I booked it out for a party of 25, and it was
great, everyone can quite simply have everything.  
Also, if you want to try as much as you can for a tenner,
then Sanam restaurant is worth a look.   

Sanam in a nutshell

Cost – £9.95 per
Halal – Yes.  Limited options for vegetarians.
Great if… you’re
eating in a large group, though pre-booking is required. 
Not so great if
you’re not a buffet fan.  

About the Author


I’m not a makeup artist, chef, lifestyle guru or stylist. I’m just me. And like you, I’m trying to make the best of most things, only I’m sharing my warts-and-all thoughts along the way.

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