Many places claim to be Manchester institutions, but the Tondori Royale is justified in thinking itself one: it was there when I was a student, and has remained largely unchanged ever since, although a refurbishment has sadly seen the end of the flock wallpaper that graced its interior until really quite recently. The prices haven't changed much either - they still do their set-price menu, astonishingly good value at £12.95 per head. For this you get a popadom, any starter, any main (excluding fish or king prawn), rice or naan, a liqueur coffee, and some startlingly sweet free wine that is actually quite manageable once you've forced the first glass down (try to neck a couple of glasses of something decent before you leave the house).
For such a good-value restaurant, the place was disappointingly quiet for a Friday night, although it is entirely possible that respectable diners were put off by the lairy party of girls sitting in the window. The staff couldn't be more helpful, the food is good in a traditional sort of way (a few of the sauces are worryingly bright in colour) and you can always pop into the big Tesco afterwards to stock up on anything that seems essential after a few drinks - these are the only occasions on which I purchase OK magazine. Perfect night all round.
- Tondori Royale is at 682 Burnage Lane, Burnage, Manchester M19 1NA, tel. 0161 4320930