THROUGHOUT my university days I picked restaurants based solely on price - but am I glad I ditched that little plan? You bet.

For my dad's 50th birthday we decided to try Usha in Rossendale Road - voted 'best in the North West' at the annual Asian Curry Awards.

The popular eaterie received more than 300 nominations from customers for the awards and judges said they were blown away by the quality of the food - and they weren't wrong...

I opted for the Special Mixed Tikka Balti dish with Keema Rice and a Keema Naan.

There were plenty of other options but I'm a sucker for anything titled 'special'. And I quite like Keema - as you can probably tell...

After already devouring copious amounts of poppadoms and mango chutney alongside a refreshing pint of Kingfisher - I was ready for the challenge.

The meat was oooh-so tender and the sauce complimented my naan bread perfectly. Although my dad's Massala sauce was incredible.

He spent most of the meal batting us all off...

There was the inevitable silence around the table as we all polished off our plates and side dishes. The family favourite Saag Aloo was creamy and full of flavour.

Yet again - we had all eaten too much. But this time is was very satisfying.

The staff were friendly and attentive - without being overbearing. And the atmopshere was buzzing for a Wednesday evening.

It's not often my girlfriend Emily doesn't complain about something - so it looks like Usha are onto something VERY special.

And best of all - I didn't have to pay...



Food: 10
Drink: 9
Service: 10
Atmosphere: 8
Value: 10