"The number of Middle Eastern restaurants is catching up with the number of Indian restaurants," said McEvoy, who has been tracking Manchester's shifting immigrant population since the 1960s. "At this rate, some time in the next 20 years, we might see a majority of Middle Eastern restaurants on Curry Mile."
The new influx of Middle Eastern restaurants are larger than their Indian rivals. Beirut, a new falafel restaurant in Manchester, can seat more than 100 diners, whereas many of the Indian outlets cater for fewer than 40 people.
Manchester appears to be leading the trend. The first falafel restaurant has recently opened on London's Brick Lane, for decades a redoubt of curry lovers. Elsewhere in the capital, Hummus Bros, a putative chain of fast-food restaurants, has opened two outlets.
McEvoy said he believed Middle Eastern restaurateurs, from countries such as Lebanon and Egypt, had learned from the examples of previous immigrant groups, such as the Chinese, who were keen to be self-employed. "They might not have British qualifications and their English might not be perfect, so they set up in self-employment in the hope that will give them a better life than low-paid jobs in the mainstream economy," he said.