Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Izzy and Me Do ‘Bratford’

The cat's called Jawa

Izzy and I had a few things to do last Thursday.  Essentially a trip into Bradford was necessary to buy some traditional Indian sweets for Crimbo present’s.  So, with this in mind we trotted off with a sense of urgency that only a Father and Daughter pair, with something useful and worthwhile to do, can do.  At the back of our minds though I’m sure, was the thought that “whilst in Bradford it would be rude not to eat some Bradford Curry for lunch.”  Would you expect anything less of us dear readers?

La Jawaab, Oak Lane, Bradford
We initially headed to Oak Lane where, last time I was up that neck of the woods, I’d spotted Mughal’s Sweet’s.  It seemed like a good place to buy sweet’s, considering the Bradford Curry Club enjoyed their café style eater on Leeds Road…  However, Mughal’s Sweet’s was shut down!  Never mind, we had spotted La Jawaab – another sweet shop - just down the road – so popped in there.  Now, I’m no expert on such matters, but La Jawaab seemed to have a decent selection, and at £3.25/500g, they seemed value for money.  They didn’t last long at work either, so must’ve been pretty good.

An aside...  The Sheesh Mahall refurb is coming on
Fish Pakora

Kashmir Established 1958...
Izzy Established as the No. 1
Bradford Curry Eating Toddler
However, all this is merely preamble to the highlight of our visit to Bradford – a trip to the legendary Kashmir.  Now, most will know that, although the Kashmir is by far and away THE Bradford Curry restaurant this blogger has eaten most Bradford Curry in over the years, and that, although the Kashmir has numerous excellent aspects to its dining experience, the curries have, sometimes, left me a little disappointed.  This appears to have changed recently, and a recent dinner time trip last the summer, after the Sky Ride, proved that the Kashmir to be on the up.  So, how would it fair this time?  Brilliantly is the answer.  There is no need to worry about the Fish Pakora, as these have always been excellent.  Likewise with the Kashmiri Naan - which was found to be stuffed to the gills with flaked, and crushed almonds, and with a healthy helping of sultanas to boot, and served piping hot and smothered in butter.  Mmmm!! For main course, Izzy and me shared the Meat and Spinach Masala, and it certainly had a good bash and tipping my favourite Karachi Lamb and Spinach from its lofty pedestal as my favourite Bradford Curry – and that’s saying something.  It had all the ingredients of the classic Bradford Curry in that it was dark and rich, and generally dry.  There was a good meat quota, and the spinach added that slightly irony flavour.  Ours was not too hot and spicy, so was enjoyed greatly by Izzy too – a winner.

Say 'Cheese'

Roll on next time…

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Din Dins at the Karachi

The terraced house exterior

Another Friday and another dinner time in transit through the middle of Bradford….  Strange that isn’t it? But totally coincidental I promise.

I’m a traditionalist as you know, and would normally treat myself to fish ‘n’ chips on a Friday dinner time.  However, when in Bradford, the draw of a dinner time curry is too much to resist these days, and tradition is all too soon out the window.

I wonder how long it will be
before my picture graces a wall
Well, it was International last time, so where this?  Many ideas whizzed through my little brain as I hot footed it down towards the centre of town, with Karachi winning the head battle this time.  I think Karachi’s Lamb and Spinach (as favoured by Rick Stein) is my favourite Bradford curry… but I have to keep eating it just to make sure.  Will it live up to the hype again on this occasion?

It was really quite early – just after 12noon – and wasn’t expecting many people to be in to be honest.  To my surprise, there was a table of about eight workmen, and also about three lone dinners.  In addition, a Christmas Party table was set up for about twenty, and this slowly filled up during my brief stay.

Karachi is no frills to the max dinning.  The waiter simply asked what I wanted whilst presenting me with a jug of water and small salad of onion, tomato and riata.  No menu’s it seems unless requested.  No matter as I knew exactly what I was after and ordered Rick Stein’s Lamb and Spinach forthwith.  Chapattis are included at the Karachi, so no need to worry in that department.

As with the International the other week, my meal turned up in super quick time, and was presented in a sizzling balti dish.  The luxury of a clean bowl and spoon to aid ‘spooning’ my curry from its spitting cauldron was also proffered.  I selected to go posh and transfer the virtually boiling curry into its fresh receptacle, and scoff it utilising the chapattis from there – saved burning my fingers on the balti dish too.  Goodness knows how/where they are heated to reach such a temperature?
Piping hot

What can I say – it is still my favourite Bradford Curry full stop.  That Rick Stein chap certainly knows his onions.  Dark, dry and not oily - the sauce was perhaps not quite a reduced as on previous occasions, and the addition of fresh coriander stalks added a certain zing the proceedings.  All this resulted in a fresher, cleaner taste.  This simply added another chapter/verse/dimension to the ongoing saga of me and this curry.

£7.00!!!  Wonderful.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Hit the North Again - Ashoka, Glasgow

19 Ashton Lane,
G12 8SJ.
Tel: 0141 337 1115
Saturday 26th November 2011 (Late evening)
Juanita, Ben, Big Tone and John
Watering Hole(s)
Again Brel was the first port of call for a few of Belgian’s finest and a bit of early evening jazz – and all very nice it was too.  No ‘nice’ glass for my Chimay Blue’s though, so had to drink from a glass beaker - of the like you might be served a coke in – still tasted the same though.  Then we ventured on to Jinty McGuinty's - slightly further down Ashton Lane - and was your pretty standard Irish theme bar.  Busy though and good Guinness apparently.  Oran Mor was visit again on this occasion also.
To be honest I had no (or maybe low) expectations.  From visiting Glasgow numerous times over the years, I have seen the Ashoka name all over the place.  I understand them not to be a chain or franchise but, still, there are loads of ‘em – so, like a TGI Fridays/Frankie n Bennies/etc. (which are chains admittedly), could they be that good?  Also, I understand they come under the Harlequin umbrella of restaurants??  Quite what that means I don’t know??  I don’t claim to understand at all the politics of the Glasgow Curry Scene, and don’t want to speak out of turn here, but I think the Harlequin name owns/runs loads of Glasgow Curry Restaurants so again, I would normally tend to shy away from such antics. 
The Reality
My initial impressions of Ashoka – on a Saturday night at least – were ones of ‘popular’ and ‘bustling’, and there were definite suggestions in the air that a top class dining experience were about to be had. 
The restaurant has booth type seating to the edges of the room, with more traditional seating arrangements through the center.  Not a massive room, but tastefully decorated in generally dark shades, and resplendent with a large Indian themed mural on the back wall.  This being a wet and blustery night in Glasgow, the small cloakroom area was overflowing with outdoor wear.
With Juanita having the forethought to suggest booking a table in advance – and it was a good job we did as the restaurant was full on our arrival - we were swiftly seated in a decently positioned booth next to the window.  Not huge the booths – especially when the amassed girths of Bradford’s finest curry eating glitterati are shoe horned into one!!
I can’t remember having poppadoms…..  (Oopppss!!  Serves me right for leaving too long before blogging – lesson learned), so I’ll move swiftly to the starters.  The novelty of Haggis Pakora was was too much to resist so these were ordered on Big Tone’s behalf before he had time to think about it.  Fish pakora for me and have now complaints – in fact the fish pakora merits high praise from me for the soft, perfectly cooked fish, coated in the light batter.  The Haggis Pakora, on the other hand, did seem to offer little else other than its novelty value.  It did taste haggisy though to its credit.  The onion bhaji was noted as being rather dry and was not popular.
Exquisite Kerala Chilli
Now, I’m not one for creamy curries normally, but one caught my eye on the Ashoka menu.  The Kerala Chilli – with your own choice of meat/fish/veg - was billed as comprising a piquant sauce with black pepper and a dash of coconut milk, oh and some chilli.  Sounded interesting, and not like curries we get down here in Bradford, so I ordered one… with lamb.  I was not disappointed at all, and found it full of flavour and the kind of dish that attacked every taste bud with every mouthful.  There was the initial taste of coconut that morphed into a slight sweet n sourness, and then a fair and pleasant wallop of heat from the chilli.  This sneaked up at the end… just to let you know that, although a creamy curry, this was actually a proper ‘mans’ curry.  Black pepper didn’t exactly jump out at me, but no matter.  The meat count was high and I found it all round excellent.  Well worth sampling.  Garlic naan again (I’m really going to have try and branch out) was perfectly good enough.
Novel Haggis Pakora
Excellent Fish Pakora

Drinks Policy and range
No worries here – endless pints of lager on tap – Lal Toofan.
Ben's Curry was also tasty
The Kerala Chilli with Lamb was, without question, the highlight for me.  Not the kind of dish this local to Bradford curry lover experiences regularly.  The dish attacked every taste bud with its creamy coconuty flavour, some pleasant heat, and elements of both sweet and sour – it was excellent in my opinion. 
I don’t like to discuss lowlights regularly, and rarely encounter anything that causes me to put finger to keypad and type it down.  Although on this occasion Ashoka delivered a very enjoyable curry eating night out for us lot – and bear in mind this is the view of a tight fisted Yorkshireman with short arms and deep pockets – it was a bit on the dear side!!  £5-£6 for a basic starter and upwards of £10 for the main course’s, was very dear I thought.  The fodder was yummy but, for me, it was just on the wrong side of VFM.  However, the restaurant was very busy, and we had to book a table, so it is defo popular and people are happy to pay the prices – so who am I to question?
The Damage
Me and Fish Pakora
The bill came to about £20/person.  A good night out etc, but with the, what I would consider slightly under par starters in general (although my fish pakora was excellent), I thought that was a bit pricey.
Similar situation to the recent Café Salma aftermath is as much as bike racing the next day resulted in waking with a slight feeling of butterflies.  Can’t be sure if my guts were taking a turn for the worst due to the curry or it was a case of my body entering panic mode!!  Judging by the quality of the food at Ashoka, I think it was the later.

Decent environment and excellent main curry but slightly under par starters and cost will limit Ashoka’s appeal for me in the future.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Sunday Buffet at Aakash

It is big the Aakash - fills two floors of this old building
The 'Largest Indian Restaurant in the World' is the boast of Cleckheaton's
Aakash Restaurant in.  In a similar way to Omars 'Biggest Naans in Yorkshire' boast, it makes me wonder why size is becoming a measure of quality?

Aakash's cavernous interior
Anyway, the offer to join some Bradford Curry Club members on a swift early Sunday evening buffet to Aakash, was too much to resist, so off we trotted.  With a less than patient Izzy in tow, however, managing to study all aspects of the Aakash experience was simply beyond me, and chasing Izzy around its vastness was more the order of the day.  Therefore, this post is to merely jot some impressions and initial thoughts down.

Standard Buffet Fare
Suffice to say, Aakash seems to offer a top quality buffet experience, and the popularity of the restaurant speaks for this.  On the flip side, queues did form at the buffet, and we did find timing visits for food became more of a focus throughout the evening.  The food, was all good, but did perhaps have that MOR feel to it - ideal for a buffet, where catering far all tastes is paramount.

This curry loving family spent more time chasing their
beautiful little daughter around than eating curry
I need to visit again with my proper Bradford Curry Blogger head on really.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011


Outside Zaara's on a wind swept evening 

Zaara’s Indian Restaurant
34-38 Bradford Road
West Yorkshire
BD18 3NT
Tell: 01274 588774
Modern interior
Web: http://www.zaaras.com/
11th November 2011 @ ~20:30
Jaz, Lynda, Francois and John (me)
Pre-Curry Watering Holes
Fanny's is a Shipley institution
Not really knowing Shipley that well for drinking, we headed straight to Saltaire.  Leaving the train, on what was a dank drizzly night, made the partially cobbled terraced streets of Saltaire, with the Mill looming through the dark, very atmospheric for first time visitor to Bradford Francois
First port of call was Don’t Tell Titus, a modern bar come restaurant just up from the train station.  It was a trendy noisy kind of place but was pleasant enough to spend just enough time to neck a bottle of wine.  Next was the legendary Fanny’s Ale House.  Fanny’s is a very characterful boozer on Saltaire Road, offering all manner of specialist and local brews.  It was heaving with standing room only, but is well worth a visit if in the area.  Finally was Ring O Bells, just across the road from Zaara’s, and is your standard kind of pub really.  There’s nothing wrong with that but nothing much to say either. 
Zaara’s is in the Michelin Guide – not starred or anything, but it’s in there all the same – resulting in my high expectations.  However, coming down to earth, I understand that you simply pay to be included in the guide, so I guess it’s not that special?  But it’s not often I get to use the words ‘Michelin’ and ‘restaurant’ in the same sentence, so it felt pretty special to me.
The Reality
Zaara’a, like so many modern curry houses in and around Bradford, and probably the country, is a trendy establishment, which has dispensed with the traditional, outdated and clichéd flock wall paper and velvet chairs etc in favor of faux leather and dark wood.  Very swish it all looked too.
Following on from poppadoms and pickles, my starter of Paneer Tikka was wonderful and served on a bed of sizzling onions.  The herbs and spices encrusted to the outside of the paneer attacked every taste bud in my mouth with gusto.
Mixed Karahi
For main, my requested ‘hot’ Mixed Karahi (lamb and chicken) arrived perfectly spiced for my taste, and supplied the warm glow in the mouth sensation that a good curry should.  Not blow your head off hot - but just enough to let you know that he’s there.  All the curries ordered could be chosen at different heat levels - but on this occasion no-one dared the ‘Asian Strength’.  Flavour wise my Karahi – which is fast becoming my Bradford Curry of choice – was all there too, and left me wanting more.  Although slightly lacking in the lamb element of its Mixed tag, it provided plenty of chicken in a sumptuous (not oily) gravy, with the addition of a slightly deconstructed element to the dish in the form of fresh toms and herbs. 
The accompaniment of Garlic Naan was ‘a Garlic Naan’ - we’ve all been there – so won’t bore you with detail.  It didn’t last long though I can tell you.
The whole lot was polished off with no problems.
Drinks Policy and range
Zarra’s is licensed with a full wine and beer list.  Bottles Cobra are available - but no Kingfisher, or other curry associated beers seem to be available.
Paneer Tikka
Although all was very nice, and I enjoyed every aspect of my meal, I really rated the Paneer Tikka.  Credit has to go the Zaara chef for his quality blend of herbs and spices, which transformed, what I guess is an essentially pretty bland cottage cheese, to the dizzying heights of mouthwatering status.
There were absolutely none.  My personal preference is to be presented with poppadoms and pickles when seated, or with the drinks, which didn’t happen at Zaara’s.  However, I totally understand that it isn’t what everyone wants.  Therefore, it’s not a criticism, just an observation.
The Damage
Very reasonable at £16.25pp including drinks (at least two bottles of beer each) I think?  So about £10pp for starter, main and sundry!!  Rock on!!  That sounds cheap so will confirm.
The obligatory headache followed in the morning, but that was from other ‘sauces’.
I was more than happy with my Zaara experience.  It was very nice in every aspect. 

Friday, 4 November 2011

Bradford - Curry Capital of Britain 2011

Well done to the Lads n Lasses of Bradford for clinching Curry Capital of Britain 2011 - I knew you could do it.

I'm also very proud of Glasgow too - as you know I have a soft spot for Glasgow curries.  Better luck next year.

Bring it on.......

Friday, 28 October 2011

Breakfast at the Sweet Centre

Something I’ve always enjoyed, but rarely seem to get around to doing, is the Traditional Chickpea Curry Breakfast.

Unlike the Curry Mile in Manchester, where the Chickpea Curry Breakfast is all the rage, Bradfordians seem less than enthusiastic from what I can tell.  If anyone knows where to get Chickpea Curry Breakfast then please let me know.

Bottles of  sauce are supplied on the tables 
The little Sweet Centre Café on the corner of Lumb Lane and Bowland Street is separated from the Sweet Centre Restaurant proper by an importer/exporter herbalist’s shop, and is a pretty cool place to visit.  Although recently refurbished with posh new chairs, the general layout is essentially how I remember it, in that there is a counter partly to display sweets, and partly for eating at, with a number of associated stools, and standard tables and chairs.  We took a table on this occasion due to having a baby in tow, and also because all the stools were full!!  NB – no high chairs are available. 

What no menus?  A quick peer around the, what I thought was a, surprisingly busy café for 11:30 in the morning, revealed everyone was eating one of three things – Chickpea with puri’s, Sheekh Kebab’s or Samosa’s.  This led me to the conclusion that there must be such a limited menu available at this time that it isn’t even worth offering one for perusal??  However, I now have a little dilemma - what I call ‘Chick Pea Curry Breakfast’ might not be its official title?  If I ask for this will I be laughed out of the place?  It wouldn’t be the first time a waiter has had to correct me for ordering the wrong type of food at the wrong time of day!! 

Izzy enjoys her days out eating curry with her Daddy

Anyway, above the bustling bar are two signs, one reads ‘takeaway orders’ and the other reads ‘eat in orders’ – simple really.  So with all my nerve I approach the bar preparing myself to be either laughed at, lectured at or simply told to clear off.  I lean between two blokes and ask for a ‘breakfast’.  Thankfully my request is greeted with a nod, and also with the kind of expression that say “yes I know, we only sell three things here….  What else could you possibly want?”  Full of confidence now I ask for two kebabs too.

I retreat back from the bar, but within a couple of minutes I’m beckoned back over, and the food is ready!!  A vast pan supplies the chickpeas, and the kebabs are given a quick blast in the microwave (Booo! but quick).  The puri’s come from a small kitchen out the back.  I’m also supplied with a glass of water and some napkins.

Traditional breakfast fare 
Once ferried back to our table, it’s clear to see this is uber fast and simple food.  If I didn’t have Izzy with me, who prefers a more leisurely dining experience, I could be in and out in a matter of minutes – as were many people who we witnessed.  The bowl of chickpea curry also had potato in and is kind of quite plain – in a good way mind – but just not like a curry you might eat on a night out.  I don’t think you really need a blow your head off taste explosion in your head for breakfast.  The puri’s are very greasy, but I think they are supposed to be, and I reckon could be a little ‘demanding’ to say the least if not prepared for them.  Oil runs down your fingers as you are tearing into them!!  The kebabs were good and tasty too – even though the microwaving made them a little rubbery – and had a real home made aspect to them.

A couple of sweets were selected afterwards also, and the whole bill came to £5.30!!  Brilliant.

I should do this more often….  And will.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Hit the North - Cafe Salma, Glasgow

523 Sauchiehall Street,


G3 7PQ,
United Kingdom
Tel: 0141 221 7636

Saturday 22nd October 2011 (Evening)
Juanita, Ben and John
Watering Hole(s)
A little pub crawl was achieved prior to visiting Café Salma. 
First off we visited Brel on Ashton Lane.  This is Glasgow’s (only?) Belgium themed bar, is located on a super trendy pedestrian only cobbled street that is Ashton Lane, and sells a good selection of Belgium's finest.  This establishment was chosen not only for our love of Belgian Beer but also due to our bicycle team we race for – Team Here Come the Belgians.  The new Duvel Green was splendid – a paler and a lot more refreshing tipple than other Duvel colour’s I’ve had in the past.  This was followed by my favourite - Kwak, which was disappointingly not served in the usual glass, even though it was stood at the back of the bar?  The smell of Moules Mariniere, and frites with mayo wafting through the bar was almost enough for me to loose my curry focus, but I did manage to resist temptation, and concentrate on the matter in hand.
Ben and Juanita enjoy the window seat at Cafe Salma
Next was Oran Moor, at the top Byers Road, followed by the Griffin on Bath Street.  Only Normal Lager and Guinness were consumed at these locations.  However, we were racing the following day, so wanted to try and remain fairly restrained.
New BCC T-Shirt
I had become increasingly aware of Café Salma through reading Curry-Heute, and recent consultation with Hector had flagged the café as a defo must do, especially if staying north of the river.  However, concerns had been raised by the Glasgow branch of the Bradford Curry Club that they thought Café Salma was more Moroccan than Indian?  However, Perusal of the website did show both Moroccan and Indian menus.  In addition, the likes of pizza and burgers were also offered, and made us think more ‘fast food takeaway’ rather than ‘curry house’.  However, as seen recently in Bradford, the move towards more varied menus is becoming more popular, and is no more the sole domain of the takeaway.

The Reality
Open kitchen at Cafe Salma
Café Salma is definitely more Curry House, with, I understand, a Moroccan café downstairs, and is smallish and informal.  Like a lot of places I’ve visited in Glasgow, there is an open kitchen to one side.
The restaurant was about half full when we arrived, and with a very friendly welcome, we were sat at a window table.  We were presented with poppadoms and pickles, and water, along with both Indian and Moroccan menus.  Suffice to say this was a curry eating mission, and, alas, the poor old Moroccan menu didn’t really get a look in.  On another night may be?
Sheekh Kebab
Sheekh Kebab was my starter.  Even amongst some interesting sounding pakora options, I couldn't resist the Sheekh Kebab.  I’m glad I did, as it was delicious, and enough of the pickle tray remained to allow dippage.
My main was the recommended Lamb Lahori Karahi, and it was also very very good.  The pale(ish) coloured curry smacked of fresh ingredients, and had a rich, full taste.  I found it also nice and garlicy with large chunks of lamb residing.   Although, to be brutally honest, my first impressions were that perhaps the dish looked a little ‘retro’ - however, there were no qualms once the first mouthful went in.
Nothing to say about the Garlic and Coriander Naan other than you need to go a sample it, end of.  It was simply wonderful.
Drinks Policy and range
No alcohol served and didn’t ask about any BYO policy.  We drank water and soft drinks with our meal, and they seemed perfectly fitting.
I enjoyed every aspect of my meal thoroughly, but if I have to choose one thing, I felt the Garlic and Coriander naan sneaked in to the Top Draw honors list.  General ambiance and service were also good.
Garlic and Coriander Naan
Eeerrr??  Nope, there were non to speak of.
The Damage
The bill came to about £17/person.  Without drinks, this is not what I would call cheap, but, considering the quality of the food, and service, it definitely falls into the more important VFM category.
'An Hour in Hell' - Perfect for a Sunday Morning???
We headed home for an early night after the meal.  A bit ‘peeky’ the following morning, but this may have more to do with one or two too many beers and my body entering panic mode as the ‘Hour in Hell’ fast approached!!
I will definitely revisit this little gem.  Thanks to Hector for the heads up.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Din Dins at the International

Since reading my new friend Hector’s (The international curry guru from Glasgow and of Curry-Heute fame – check out his website) account of his recent trip down south to Bradford – and especially his near curry nirvana experience at the International, I simply had to re-visit.  But when?  Sneaking in a ‘Billy no mates’ lunchtime curry whilst in transit through the centre of Bradford, offered the perfect opportunity to take in the International. 

The 'Currymobile' outside the International

We at the Bradford Curry Club are big fans of the International, and rightly so – what with excellent curries, nice environment, efficient service and VFM, it has all the ingredients to make it a winner.

Hector’s weapon of choice was a Lamb Karahi Methi and he considered it one of the finest he’d ever tasted.  I thought it’d be rude of me not to indulge – so that was to be choice also. 

Billy no mates
I was sat straight away and provided with a solitary poppadon and sauces, and a jug of water.  The laminated menu was also presented for my perusal.  However, as already discussed, I’d already made my decision, and the waiter arrived to take my order with prompt efficiency.

Not spotting Lamb Karahi Methi on the menu did not deter me from ordering it, and the waiter was un-phased by my suggestion of a dish not officially offered (NB. I only glanced at the menu, and I could’ve easily missed it – I spotted Chicken Karahi Methi).  Included with all mains is either a naan, 3x chapattis, 2x Rotis, or rice.  It was naan for me.

Lamb Karahi Methi - Bradford curry at its best
I’d barely started the crossword before my meal arrived – piping hot in a little balti style dish.  I say little, but it was a fair old portion, and, being a lone dinner, I was pleased at my decision not to attempt a starter also.  The Karahi is a traditional Punjabi curry – thick and dry – and the Methi part is fenugreek to the layperson.  My Kahahi was indeed thick and dry, with plenty of melt in the mouth lamb.  It was really good, but I couldn’t help but think mine had a slight ‘dusty’ taste to it, like a powdered spice had been added and not cooked out properly?  Still gorgeous though, and with a naan to boot, I was more than satisfied.  There was little evidence of excessive oil left in the bowl or plate either which is nice.

All this for £7.50!!!  Makes you wonder why you would ever bother going to McDonalds really?  Bare in mind that my Karahi was off the special menu too, and a simple curry could be ordered for £6 – and I guess would still include the same popadoms, water etc – that’s a bargain.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Al Fresco Curry

So, it’s a lovely sunny day – perhaps one of the last we’re likely to see for the year – I’ve just finished footy training with my beautiful daughter, and it’s nearing dinner time…..  What shall we do?  Go for an al fresco curry of course.

Isabella and Grand Pa tuck in
Now, as far as I’m aware, only Café Regal in Bradford, offer such a dinning experience, so it was there we ventured.

We arrived pretty early and not many people were in.  But we didn’t worry, and dived straight in with full mashings of Lamb and cheese kebabs – Izzy’s fave, Lamb Handi for me, and Channa Masala for Big Tone.  Accompanied by an Aloo Paratha and a garlic naan – oh and also a Mango Lasi for Izz Whizz.
Isabella enjoyed the chicken and cheese kebabs the most

The lamb and cheese kebabs are something a little different and perfectly acceptable – although this blogger still prefers the traditional shish kebab if I’m completely honest.  The kebab comprises minced chicken with the cheese kind of incorporated into it??  The channa masala was very good, with the chick peas very well cooked, and the dish almost taking on a mushy pea texture – in a good way.  The Lamb Handi was good, but perhaps a little run of the mill, and very oily.

The meal was followed by a few complimentary sweets which was a nice touch.

Cafe Regal is an excellent place to visit
Overall an excellent experience and one I hope to re visit on future sunny days.  However, the outdoor seating is not the only positive aspect to Café Regal, and its large sweet shop and trendy café are worth a visit any time of the day or night.

Cafe Regal on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

World Curry Festival 2011, Leeds

We attended the World Curry Festival on the Saturday afternoon, and had a rather enjoyable experience

The Festival itself was set up in Leeds city centre just outside the library and adjacent street.

On arrival it was packed and the smoky aroma of bbqing meat and pots of bubbling curry filled the air.

The short(ish) queue at Barrington Douglas's Discovery Bay stall tempted us into diving straight into our first curry experience of the day - Curry Goat with Rice and Peas.  It was my first Curry Goat experience and I found it very palatable.  Mildly spiced but with rich meat, it was not too dissimilar to the usual Indian curries we are used to

Our second port of call was Zouk's stall, where a massive bbq sizzled away.  We sampled both Chicken Tikka and Paneer Tikka wraps and were not disappointed.  Fresh bbqed meat and cheese on bread - 'nuff said

A quick beer and then it was time for sweets - served up by the Sweet Centre, of Lumb Lane, stall.  One piece each was more than enough.

A few more photos can be found here