Stockport is something of enigma. As a metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester it is
probably second only to Trafford in terms of the level of wealth of its inhabitants but
despite that struggles to support many, or indeed any, quality restaurants in it’s town
centre. Within its boundaries it has a good number of affluent suburbs: Bramhall, Cheadle
Hulme, Marple and parts of the Heatons with a good number of other areas such as Poynton and Disley on its borders and yet the number of quality restaurants in Stockport town itself are very limited. Stockport in this respect compares extremely badly to Altrincham , the main urban centre of Trafford MBC, and this has been the case for many years now.
What are the reasons for this? One major factor seems to be that the citizens of these more
affluent suburbs rarely come into Stockport for leisure activities preferring to stay local
or even travel into Manchester. The other motives for coming into to the town , for shopping or the cinema are also limited and consequently other areas take stockport’s trade.
Stockport has a number of well known real ale pubs and in this regard is well served but ask someone where to eat well in Stockport town centre and you will receive very few
recommendations. The only reliable place is the outstanding Arden Arms , a recent CAMRA national pub finalist, and that only offers a lunchtime service.
Sooner or later someone is going to make a success out of this niche. One possible contender is Rayhoon, a Persian restaurant which has been open some 6 months on St Petersgate adjacent to Stockport’s casino. We visited on saturday night on a whim and without a booking.
The place has had some money spent on a makeover of what was was previously an uninteresting open place office location with a modern feel and some interesting art on the walls. Despite this and the fact that the staff are both welcoming and professional. there were only two other occupied tables when we arrived at 7.30.
Persian cuisine is unusual , think Turkish or Armenian with a hint of the spices of the
Indian subcontinent. Interesting appetisers are followed by unusual grills and stews.
We tried 3 appetisers, hummus, a salad Olivieh and the Meatball. These were served with
bread, described as Nan on the Menu but more of a crispy, roti-like flat bread. The Persian
Salad or salad Olivieh was an interesting dish shredded chicken, gherkins and potatoes
combined with a light mayonnaise. Our cricket ball sized meat ball arrived in a very tasty
tomato sauce and was stuffed with a plum. It was the first time I have ever been warned to
look out for the stone in a meatball. It all worked though.
Playing safe with the main courses , we both enjoyed substantial plates of grilled meats
served with rice flavoured with saffron and pistachio and accompanied by more of the rich
tomato gravy that the meatball was served with. We also ordered more of the excellent “nan” bread and a salad shirazi , consisting of chopped tomato, cucumber, onion and parsley. Although in hindsight these were probably too much.
We rounded off the meal with some homemade Persian Ice cream and glasses of strong, almost lemon scented Persian tea. The house pianist played throughout the evening and we got the feeling that this was most certainly a place that President Almerdinnerjacket would not have approved of. Not only because there were some discreet pictures of the Old Shah of Persia on the walls but also that there were four Iranian ladies dining together, alone, without chaperones, laughing in public, probably with their own money…
….for all of the above food and a bottle of Shiraz ( What else ?) from the upper reaches of
the wine menu together with a bottle of Peroni the bill came to 64 of our decadent, probably zionist pounds.
This place does deserve to do a lot better, If you are reading this in one of the many and varied affluent suburbs of Stockport , then give it a try.