From 2008: George Bergel and Tom Watson caught up with Tariq Rahmankhan of Manzils fame to talk about notorious sports teams, memorable moments and his favourite curry.
Hi Tariq, thanks for talking to us. How long have you been working at Manzils?
About 13 years or so. Before then I worked in Dubai selling garments and working in the catering industry.
Manzils is very well known amongst the student population, achieving near mythical status. You have also been recently named in the top 10 curry houses in the UK by the Guardian — what do you attribute this success to?
We try to make sure everyone enjoys their meal, looking after all of our customers. We aim to provide the best quality food at reasonable prices, because we know students don’t have much money.
What’s it like working in Southampton?
My father used to be based in Southampton when he was in the Royal Navy in the Second World War, so I have strong ties with the area, over 50 years of family history. It’s a friendly, lively community, a great town to live in.
Often sports teams visit Manzils on socials or after Jesters. Are you a sportsman yourself?
We love having the sports teams come into Manzils, it’s always a great atmosphere. I used to play football myself, and a bit of cricket. Now I’m also a big fan of rugby, and I support the local Indian teams as well as the University sports teams of course! We are proud to have the sports teams visit Manzils, as it shows how good the atmosphere is.
Stories of a big night out frequently involve odd events in Manzils – what’s the most bizarre thing you’ve seen in your time working here?
One day about 7 years ago I was in the restaurant on my own, and at about 1:30 in the morning 20 students came in, the Men and Women’s cricket teams. I went into the kitchen, and when I came back they were all naked! I was very embarrassed, especially for the girls but it quickly became very funny. Everyone had a great time, and they left one by one, still naked, and got stopped by the police outside. The police came in to question me, and asked me if they were allowed to be in our restaurant naked, and I had apologise.
What is your personal favourite curry?
I love Lamb Vindaloo – I like my curries very spicy, and Vindaloo is very hot, but also has a great flavour. I would recommend for you the Chicken Bhuna. a nice medium dish that everyone can enjoy. We make it for both the Indian and English markets.