WHAT a 2018 it was for Lily’s in Ashton-under-Lyne, crowned by winning ‘Vegetarian Offering of the Year’ in the Manchester Food and Drink Awards. Now they begin 2019 with a move just up the road to a new site to showcase their much-loved Gujarati meat-free cuisine.
Launching on Wednesday, January 9 with the unveiling of a spectacular mural, the former Alexandra Social Club offers more covers, 80 plus and a bar, and an augmented menu.
Lookswise it’s a huge step up from the original with sleek grey walls as a backdrop to upholstered booths, colourful seating plus decorative kite spools and bells. You enter through a large deli selling snacks such as samosas, bhajis and kachoris as well as tray of technicolor Indian sweets such as jalebi and gulab jamun. Alongside there’s home-made kulfi, sorbets and a choice or non-dairy ice creams.
ToM’s main reason to visit LIly’s has always been to tuck into their vast dosas (filled pancakes) and, from the same rice batter those delicate steamed South Indian dumplings called idli, served with coconut chutney. Not forgetting signature paneer (Indian cheese) dishes, a world away from the rubbery efforts elsewhere.
Whether we’ll be similarly enticed by space at the new venue to host Bollywood tribute nights we’re not quite so sure.
That colourful mural illustrates the family’s roots in India and matriarch Lily’s journey from a small sweetshop to widespread acclaim for their veggie food and this expansion.
Lily’s Vegetarian Indian Cuisine, 1 Dean Street, Ashton-Under-Lyne OL6 7DY. 0161 339 4774 The deli is open 10am-6pm, Sun-Mon, 10am-8pm Wed-Sat; the restaurant 11.30am-6pm Sun-Mon, 11.30am-9pm Wed-Thu, 11.30am-10pm, Fri-Sat. Both closed Tuesdays. Below manager Parul Chauan collects the MFDF award.