Snack attack

Bites Bored of one plate, one flavour? Caroline Stacey grazes on dim sum, sashimi, bhel poori and meze in the global village
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Hanni's 4 Brooklands Road, Sale, Cheshire (0161-973 6606). Mon- Sat dinner. It's in the prosperous outskirts of Manchester - you won't find impoverished students stuffing themselves on greasy snacks here, but an appreciative crowd of local professionals enjoying real linen and the convivial effect of dishes from the Eastern Mediterranean. Turkish, Lebanese, north African and Egyptian variations all get a look in on a meze plate that might include taboulleh, baba ganoush, falafel, fassoulia (stewed beans); dolmades, borek, manca (spinach and yogurt) and sucuk (spicy lamb sausage) all for pounds 6 a head. Two can share a mixed meze plate for pounds 11, or you can make up your own selection, whether or not you intend to follow it with grills, couscous or kebabs.

Royal China 13 Queensway, London W2 (0171-221 2535). Lunch and dinner daily. Rated as one of the top venues for dim sum in London, this branch - in an area well away from Chinatown - has Cantonese snacks of exceptional quality and invention. They are served daily until 5pm in a restaurant sumptuously got up in black and gold lacquer. Though not the cheapest of their type, they still guarantee a feast for about pounds 10 a head. As well as the usual turnip cakes, dumplings and steamed buns, there are around a dozen special dim sum that change regularly.

Far East 27-35 Berry Street, Liverpool (0151- 709 3141). Lunch and dinner daily. Seafaring Liverpool has a long association with the Chinese, and a Chinatown district to illustrate it. This Chinatown stalwart is the best-known exponent of the art of dim sum, which it lays on every day until 6pm. On Sunday, they're served the frantic Hong Kong way from hot trolleys paraded around the restaurant. The rest of the week you order off the menu from a choice of a score or more dumplings and other steamed, baked and fried delicacies for about pounds 2 a portion

Champers 61 St Mary Street, Cardiff (01222 373363). Mon-Sat lunch, Mon- Sun dinner. Where can Catatonia meet Catalonia? Sawdust on the floor, wrought iron and tiles painted with scenes of peasant life make this an unmistakably Spanish place in the centre of the suddenly-happening Welsh capital. It is one of a collection of three in Cardiff and three outside, owned by Benigno Martinez. Though it is more a restaurant than bar, superior tapas start with serrano ham and don't pull punches (or provide much joy for vegetarians) with albondigas (meatballs), calamares, estofado (potato and meat stew), tripe and chickpea stew, and chorizo, though there's always Manchego cheese to nibble on afterwards - puddings don't play much of a part. Tapas are about pounds 3 each.

T'su 118 Draycott Avenue, Chelsea, London SW3 (0171-584 5522). Lunch and dinner daily. Of the revolving sushi specialists in London (kaiten, the Japanese call them) this is probably the least authentic. But it certainly makes for refreshing, innovative snacks, and of all the attempts to serve Oriental tapas it is probably the most successful. Examples of the Eastern fusion portions include prawn sushi with coriander pesto, beef carpaccio with herb pesto, and king prawns with glass noodles and herb sauce. Each plate, which you pick up as it passes before you on the conveyor belt, costs pounds 2.25-pounds 3.25. You will pay pounds 12-pounds 20 a head in one of the poshest parts of town.

Chetna's 420 High Road, Wembley, north London (0181-900 1466). Tue-Sun lunch and dinner. Like the well-known cluster of Indian vegetarian cafes near Euston in the centre of the capital - best of which is still the venerable Diwana Bhel Poori House - the strength here is the bhel poori from Bombay, which attract the local Asian population. Unlike the Diwana, this is licensed. Sit under a chandelier and launch a leisurely attack on the splendid south Indian vegetarian snacks which can precede a dosa - a rice pancake filled with vegetables and served with chutney - or make up a meal in themselves for around pounds 5

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