Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Akbar’s The Café


Akbar's The Cafe from the side


Akbar’s is a Bradford institution, and was originally/still is considered by this merry band of Bradford Curry eaters to be THE Bradford Curry by which ALL others should be judged…  A bold statement, but one which reflects the high regard we, as individuals, all held for the restaurant prior to the birth of the Club.

However, the last, and only documented, time, we have visited Akbar’s proper (not the Cafe) as the Bradford Curry Club, was on an incredibly busy night and, although we couldn’t fault the service or food, the atmosphere was slightly lacking.  The blog of the evening can be viewed here.

An Akbar's napkin
Now, to be honest, we have visited Akbar’s The Café too before, but it was not documented.  If I remember rightly - Bradford Curry offered that day was 'Ten Men' - but we were not too keen on the café concept, and didn’t think the likes of lasagne, burgers, etc. had a place on a hard core Bradford Curry House menu.  However, we now admit that those views were a little snobby and narrow-minded, and these days we embrace such forward thinking ideas.

So how about Akbar’s The Café – how does it fair?

It fairs very well thank you very much. 

Although one of the first people through the door on the dot at noon, the Café soon filled, and the ultra modern glass, stainless steel and brown leatherette was all very cool and made for an comfy and relaxed location to spend an hour or so.

Lamb Handi and Tandori Roti
Our order was taken and the food soon arrived.  Not perhaps as lightening quick as some other restaurants visited recently, but it’s not a race at the end of the day – and still a darn site faster than McDonalds if you order a Big Mac without the gherkin!!  Fish Masala, Lamb Handi and two Tandori Roti’s provided plenty of food for the Curry Monster Izzy and me.  Izzy tucked into the Fish Masala with gusto and, when I was reluctantly allowed to sample the fish, I can report it was beautifully seasoned, soft, moist and well cooked.  The Lamb Handi was also top draw and was thick and dry.  It was on the spicy side it must be said – a little too much for Izzy – but was bob on for me.  It was also noted to be - in a very good way – garlicy, and it is definitely worth sampling.  MMmmmm.  Post meal I was informed by a helpful member of staff that the curries can be made milder, and just to simply ask when ordering.  Very accommodating, but sorry Izzy, you'll just have to suck in the pain and 'Man Up' if you want some of your Daddy's curry.  I had my handi plain but it can be ordered with spiniach, dall, chickpeas, etc, so is quite customisable.

Izzy with Fish Masala

There were no downsides at all to note.  The Café was clean and staff excellent and I considered it great value for money.  Speaking off the top of my head though, perhaps for some hardened Bradford Curry eaters the super trendy interior might grate slightly… who knows?  That’s just personal taste and I do know some people like that.  There is also the fact that Akbar’s is essentially a chain restaurant these days and that might not necessarily appeal to those looking for, well, somewhere that is not a chain?

All in all on this visit I am sold, I reckon the quality is excellent and I will definitely be visiting Akbar’s The Café again soon.