Armenian Taverna & Restaurant
Armenian is a Manchester institution and – recent cosmetic makeover aside – little has changed since it opened over half a century ago, with a wealth of authentic small and large plates offering as much for the veggie as the meat-lover.
Many of the dishes and flavour combinations we usually credit with the likes of Greece or Turkey or further round the Mediterranean coast and into the Middle East actually hail from Armenia – think kebabs and lamb kofta, spinach and feta pastries panirov borek, wafer-thin lavash bread, and even pistachio and honey pakhlava (baklava). The grilled aubergine dip with tahini, olive oil and garlic sounds like baba ghanoush, but this mutabal has a denser texture and is strong with cumin – apparently an Armenian flourish. For the full meze experience, there’s also hummus, tabbouleh and falafels, made with broad beans as well as chickpeas. Russia’s influence is also apparent (Armenia is a former Soviet republic) in the likes of borsch beetroot and sour cream soup as well as selodka salted herring and various pickles and dumplings, and there are a number of stew-type options, including mushroom stroganoff and lamb goulash. Lamb chop shashlik is suggested, as are lconac smbuk – aubergine stuffed with spiced minced lamb – and vegan pasus dolma, a traditional Armenian dish of marinated cabbage filled with grated vegetables and rolled, visually not unlike dolmades vine leaves.
For pudding, there’s a cake of the day – just ask for the latest special – or try the multi-layered honey and milk cake. Wash down with an Ararat brandy, produced in Armenia since 1887, and don’t forget to try the Armenian wine, especially a carafe of Karas.
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