Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Kerala Cafe


Location
139-141,
Bradford Road,
BD18 3TB,
United Kingdom.

Tell:  01274 595 367

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150504294118814.394464.705533813&type=3#!/keralacafeuk
Good pickles including carrot and ginger ones
Time
21st April 2012 @ ~17:30
Attendees
Gemma, Noel, Jake, Gill, Rob, Jenny, Pete, Lilly, Dan, Lynda, Izzy and John (me)
Expectations
As always… pretty high.  The amount of research I do pre going to curry restaurants always means my mouth is watering days before visiting.  My research flagged up that Kerala was going to be something completely different to anything else anyone can savor in Bradford… Southern Indian Food.
The Reality
On first inspection of the menu it was immediately obvious we were out of our Bradfordian comfort zone, with a board of fare stuffed full of new to us dishes.  On further perusal, and reading of the descriptions more carefully, some familiarity could be gleaned.  The bread section is a perfect example… no chapattis, naans, etc, but descriptions revealed the breads on offer were ‘like chapttis’, ‘like naan’.
Vada's with coconut dip
So on to starters. After poppadom’s that were served with a good selection of pickles, which included a ginger and carrot pickle – excellent - I chose vada’s.  I’ve not had vada’s before but remembered the Hairy Bikers once cooking them on the telly, and understood them to be essentially a kind of deep fried chickpea doughnut street food type of thingy??  My vada’s were served with a coconut dip and, to be honest, I didn’t really like them – they seemed a little bland?  Now, before I go further, I have no vada experience, so can’t really comment.  They were well cooked and had a nice chewy dense texture, but perhaps needed a dip with a little bit more oomph?  It’s all down to taste at the end of the day I suppose?  Other options such as fish and chicken fries were also ordered, and were well received.
The Dosa's are as big as they look!
My main of Lamb Masala Dosa, although slightly collapsed by the time it arrived, was excellent.  It was massive, and heartily stuffed with a mild and very tasty lamb and potato masala.  A thin lentil soup/dip/sauce was served on the side.  I’ve had dosa’s before and love the concept.  Kerala Café’s dosa was no exception and I loved it all.  A dosa is traditionally made from a slightly fermented batter, and has a slightly sour taste, and is nice and crispy.  A much lighter option compared to Bradford’s usual massive naans etc.  I don’t know the technique for eating but I just dive in!!  Pour the sauce over the whole lot and go for it.  A dosa is an excellent experience if you’ve never had one.
The dinning environment is good café style.  It is basic, with no bells and whistles, but clean and tidy.  There was a lot of glass to the front of the café, and it was a sunny day, so was pretty hot – just like Kerala I guess?  I think twelve of us turning up unannounced slightly startled the staff, and there were some gaps in the courses, but as a whole they managed a sterling job so hats off.
Cool cafe interior
Drinks Policy and range
BYO.  Come prepped if alcohol is to be taken.  No ‘offies’ in the locale that I spotted.  Water, pop and some very nice fruit juices are available off the menu.
Highlights
I do love a Dosa – and this was it for me.  Also, the Lamb Chettinadu was outstanding.  “The best curry I had in a long time” - was the comment from one of the more ‘hard to please’ BCC members.  ‘Nough said really.
Lowlights
Vada’s – just didn’t get them at all??  Sorry.  To be honest, I have no point of reference, but just didn’t really taste of anything?  Having said that, the under two’s loved them – reason enough for me to love them I suppose maybe?  HHmmm?  The jury is out.
The Damage
A reasonable ~£15pp, as per the norm.  Good food for good money.
Overall
Kerala Café is a little out the way, but is definitely worth a visit for, not only the ‘something completely different’ aspect, but for a darn good curry too, and is also open at lunch time.