It’s a bit out of the way, but the Middle Eastern meze is great, it’s veggie friendly and you can bring your own booze
Situated a mile and a half from the city centre, and easily accessed via a well-serviced bus route (the number 50 stops pretty much at its front door), Petra offers a sizeable selection of Middle Eastern meze in unpretentious surroundings.
If you’re unfamiliar with the produce of this part of the world (the Middle East that is, not Manchester), you’ll be pleased to learn there’s a lot more to it than pureed chickpeas. Cold starters are a predominantly vegetarian affair: the babaghanouj – mashed, burnt aubergine topped with pomegranate, garlic and yoghurt – is a silky, rich dip, accompanied, as most of the meze are, with pitta. Top of the list of hot meze is the kibbeh makli: bulgar wheat-coated minced lamb, deep fried.
Mains are overwhelmingly lamb-based – with a couple of fish and veggie dishes for good measure – and once you move away from the grilled meats, the sauces can bear alarming similarities. Stick with meze, try a side of mujadara – lentils and rice, topped with fried onion – and you’ll leave happy and full. There’s decent Arabic coffee and mint tea on offer and if you fancy something stronger there’s a Tesco a minute’s walk away – corkage is £1, so drinks won’t bump up the bill.
267 Upper Brook Street