Thursday, 16 August 2012

Sheesh Mahal

Refurbished Exterior

Location
Sheesh Mahal
6 St. Thomass Road,
Bradford,
BD1 2RW
Tel: 01274 723 999
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sheesh-Mahal-Restaurant/101728176557834
Time
11th August 2012 @ ~21:00
Attendees
Lynda and John (me)
Pre-Curry Watering Holes
Tonight, apart from the odd boy racer parked on a side street… banging out distorted happy hardcore from a cheap car stereo… Bradford was a ghost town, and, therefore, the Sparrow Bier CafĂ© was a welcome oasis of civilization.  Chapeau to the Sparrow boys, who have pounced on the gap in the Bradford market, and are now providing a sophisticated watering hole to the more discerning Bradford punter. Having said that, although in an Aladdin’s Cave of artisan beers, we still opted for a bottle of the cheapest plonk?  No matter, I’m no connoisseur of alcohol – just like to get tipsy! 
Moving on, we went to the adjacent to the Sheesh Mahal New Beehive.  I’ve never wondered what ever happened to the Old Beehive… perhaps I should?  It’s the kind of place I kind of love, but only from a kind of few visits! It’s been mentioned in the past that it seems a little like a brothel!  Now, I’m not about to go down that road, but I see a fantastic old Yorkshire pub with an actual drinking corridor.  A rarely found these days Yorkshire tradition, so I understand. 

Expectations
My expectations couldn’t be higher.  My Glaswegian friend – Hector Curry Heute – is the man whose opinion I value greatly, and a man to look to when considering curry… literally anywhere… and he is a massive champion of Bradford Curry.  Basically, Sheesh Mahal is his fave – and has been for some time.  So, if Hector Curry Heute says it’s good… it’s good.
The Reality
Lynda considers the mixed grill
When we arrived, the restaurant was pretty busy, and was generally bustling.  Poppadom’s, mint sauce, and an excellently fiery lime pickle were plonked on our table with the menus.  Always a nice touch – something to nibble on whilst selecting ones curry.
Mixed grill – obviously, and the Lamb Methi were my choices.  Lynda went for the Lamb (on the bone) Balti.
In no time at all, our mountainous, sizzling, virtually frothing at the mouth starter arrived.  It had a good selection, which included lamb chops, chicken drumsticks, kebabs, tikka and fish masala.  The sizzler was excellent, with some seriously full flavours.
My Lamb Methi was quite literally Bradford on a Plate.  The thick curry was more or less solid meat, cubed small, with the thick masala clinging to it.  The curry did not ooze or move about on the plate.  No, it sat there in the middle of and white bowl, and left nothing but a brown streak as it steadily maneuvered into my mouth.  It was great.
The Lamb on the bone Balti also tasted great – perhaps slightly better - and again was heavy on the meat, and this time was laced with ginger.
The new face lifted restaurant is now very swish, with dark wood and leatherette.  The staff were also friendly and efficient.  All in all a very good meal.
Drinks Policy and range
Sheesh Mahal is totally dry.  But the New Beehive is adjacent, and there is no place better to enjoy a few pints.
Lamb Methi
Highlights
Although the mixed sizzler was very good, it was the Lamb Methi that was the highlight for me.  Typically Bradfordian in every way – dark, rich and dry, more like meat with a clinging smear of sauce!  If you looked up Bradford Curry in the dictionary, a picture of the Sheesh’s Lamb Methi would be the only description needed.  I also really liked Lynda’s Lamb Balti (on the bone).  Both dishes were top draw to me.
Lowlights
Lynda found her Lamb on the Bone Balti a touch oily, but I thought it was just an aspect of the dish, and did not detract from its wonderfulness in any way for me.  Basically it was a man’s curry!  But apart from that everything was amazing.

The Damage
About £12:50pp.  As with most places in Bradford, the Sheesh offered fantastic value for money.
Aftershock
With full tummies after the meal, we became rather lethargic, and jumped on a slightly earlier train home, and relieved the babysitter.
Overall
Well I can’t believe I have never visited the Sheesh Mahal before.  It is the kind of place I set my stall out to discover.   I wished I’d visited before the facelift, in order to be able to compare and contrast but never mind.  I will certainly be visiting the Sheesh more often from now on.