Opposite one end of Central Road in Didsbury stands a small Indian takeaway named ‘Kismet’. It’s bright yellow sign could be seen from a long way up the road and, as Helen and I walked from our regular bus stop on Palatine Road (not that far from the original office of Factory Records) we would see it glowing in the distance. For that reason, we nicknamed it ‘Mecca’.
Kismet’s advantage was not just that it was nearby, but that it also served the best Indian food I have ever had. Their sauces were thick and flavoursome, their meat always moist and – uniquely in my experience – they sliced chicken breast lengthways rather than into chunks. A chicken madras, with one of their light fluffy naans, cured me of many a cold and saw me through many a chilly night.
In fact, we loved Kismet so much that when we moved to Runcorn (a full 23 miles away), we would make the round trip to get our takeaway curry from there, put it into an insulated box to keep warm, and drive home with it again.
As a testament to the quality of the food, Kismet is still there (or at least was when the Google Maps car went by), with either the same sign or a very similar one. Since I was last there, thousands of happy customers must have heard the cheerful voice on the telephone intone “Kismet takeaway!” and gone on to enjoy the delicious food. Which, in a city where Indian food can be obtained from a different fresh source about once every hundred yards, is no mean feat.