Sneak preview of The Railway Cafe

This week I popped into The Railway Cafe to take a sneak peek, ahead of their official opening tomorrow.

The team behind the Indian eateries, Mughli, have collaborated with esteemed local chef David Gale to bring us the new pop-up restaurant and gin bar which will be open for 12 weeks.

The Railway Cafe is quite different from their Manchester and Knutsford establishments though, and takes inspiration from their Southern restaurants, such as their Soho based British coffee shop and wine bar, Damson & Co.

Haz Arshad told me "We try to launch different concepts and have taken influence from our restaurants down south and launched something different here. We also jumped at the opportunity to work with David who he is incredibly talented."

Executive Chef David Gale most recently led the kitchen in the successful Lawn Club in Spinningfields, was previously the Executive Chef of the Hilton Deansgate where he won North West Chef of the Year.

He has also had a successful career in London, working with culinary greats such as Nico Ladenis and Alain Ducasse, as well as winning a 5 Diamond Award when in charge of the opening of Soho House New York.

David has worked closely with Mughli to create a unique, Indian-inspired small-plates menu for the pop-up, featuring a selection of dishes you would expect to see in a modern British restaurant but with an Indian twist.

Haz added "The idea is to be a little bit more creative and show people Indian food can be a lot more exciting than chicken tikka masala and nan bread.

"The food has delicate but robust flavours. Definitely not your vindaloo spices, but more subtle.

"David wanted to make sure that guests could try every dish and not have one dish overpower the flavour of other dishes."

David Gale told me "It was such an exciting idea and has been a wonderful project. Hopefully we have an amazing product and I cannot wait to see how the village takes it.

"It has been done for the village, so we can be part of it and integrate with the village."

David added "As a project it has been so exciting, so new. It is outside of my comfort zone and outside of the brother's comfort zone. It breaks all the rules - a curry house that doesn't serve rice or nan but hopefully serves some really interesting food in a lovely environment.

"There are also some nice stories like the Moguls, the heritage of gin and the railway - it is a lovely fit on so many levels. I think we have done really well and it is something I am really proud of."

The 40-seater restaurant will be open from 12noon to 9.30pm during the week and from 9.30am to 9.30pm at weekends, when a brunch menu will also be available.

The Railway Cafe also features a specialist gin bar headed by multi-award winning bartender, Craig Harper of Fever Tree Tonics as well as the 'World's Best Gin Bartender', Jamie Jones.

The spirited duo have created a menu to compliment the style of food on offer, focussing primarily on accentuated gin & tonics along with a selection of craft beers, wines and soft-drinks.

The intention is to hold weekly gin masterclasses where Jamie or Craig will explain the history behind gin and the various unique fusions which have been created for The Railway Cafe.

The Railway Cafe will be officially open on Friday, 9th January, however, due to the limited number of covers, they have decided not to take reservations.

I took my 7 and 9 year old daughters along with me to take some photographs and they were made to feel extremely welcome.

We sampled the popcorn shrimp, with cumin batter and citrus soy, and the seabass, served with a coriander crust made by Haz's mum. Even David is not allowed to know her secret recipe which will only be passed on should Haz marry. The seabass was served on a bed of Bombay potato made to the Mughli recipe. The food was delicious and certainly spicy, but the flavours were subtle.

As we left my 7 year old turned to me and said "The food is not only good but they entertain you. They're really kind. I want to go there again!." And we certainly will, soon.

My first impression is that this little gem is going to be a big hit. There is a lovely cosy atmosphere, great food and a very friendly welcome. My only concern is that with only 40 covers they might not be able to accommodate all the people who will want to dine there once the word spreads.

The Railway Cafe


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Paul Hutchinson
Saturday 10th January 2015 at 10:06 pm
Visited The Railway Cafe tonight, loved the atmosphere, the food on offer was not what I expected but was still very good.
Duncan Herald
Sunday 11th January 2015 at 2:03 pm
Brunch yesterday. I enjoyed the chilli,cheese bread snack. The U.S. lager was different and v. enjoyable. All staff v. friendly. Madame liked her haddock and stuff. Didn't try the gin; at 3 pm?
I hope they stay around.
Elizabeth Horrocks
Tuesday 13th January 2015 at 3:49 pm
Where exactly is it?
Lisa Reeves
Tuesday 13th January 2015 at 3:52 pm
Elizabeth, it is at 7 London Road, where Alderley Balti used to be.
Elizabeth Horrocks
Tuesday 13th January 2015 at 4:04 pm
Thank you!
Dawn Kelly
Wednesday 14th January 2015 at 9:26 am
Went there yesterday for a late lunch (2pm) with my 11yr old daughter. They were doing some renovation works for the whole duration. Although it didn't bother us it does have a not finished feel to it. The lamb lollipops were going to take 20 mins and given that we were hungry I opted for the Green Papaya & Mango Salad, which was absolutely gorgeous. My daughter chose the Mushroom & Spinach Pakora, which were basically battered mushrooms plus battered spinach leaves. Gorgeous spicy batter & she enjoyed them despite not being as expected. We also had puds - the churros & the mixed Indian sweets. Some hits & some misses. She particularly loved the Indian lemonade!!! All on all a pleasant little lunch venue with exceptionally friendly chatty staff!