Monday, 25 March 2013


Manchester Velodrome
Having just spent 2hrs at Manchester Velodrome, slowly having my legs ripped off by Ilkley Cycling Club,  a substantial recovery meal was deemed crucial to aid the repair of my muscles.  As many an athlete will tell you I'm sure, it's a big slap up curry and beer which is the most effective fodder for recovery!*

Now, I like Manchester, and there are many a good curry house lurking, but one of the best aspects of Manchester is that, to get to my house at least, you have to drive through Bradford - So, Bradford it was.  The Mrs decided she'd quite like to go to Zouk, and we hadn't been for a while, so I was happy to oblige.

Mrs Bradford Curry Blogger
When we arrived at Zouk at about 9pm, the place was mobbed.  Very popular is Zouk it has to be said.  We were asked to relax in the bar area whilst a table was prepared.  No problem - I was gagging, so an ice cold Cobra was perfect.

Once sat, we perused the menus - both starving, we decided on full mashings of poppadoms, a starter each and mains!  The specials board caught my eye - a nice touch at Zouk - and my main of Kali Mirch Ka Myth was selected from here, and promised chicken in thick punjabi pepper sauce - sounded good.  I decided on something a little different for my started also, and went for the scallops.   Lynda went for a mixed grill and Lamb Sultani which, it turned out, was very similar to a Nihari.

Scallops in foreground with Mixed Grill to rear
Poppadoms dispensed with, our starters, fresh from the grill, arrived.  My scallops looked and smelled lovely, and were served with a sour tamarind like dip.  First scallop skewered onto my fork, into the dip and into my mouth resulted in a whack of lip smacking tamarind - but no scallop flavor??  Lesson learned there -   clearly the dip was too powerful for the delicate scallop and was over powering it!  Use in moderation.  Second scallop was merely wafted by the dip before popping into my mouth.  Much better - the beautifully grilled (tandored?) scallop was melt in the mouth and subtly spiced.  Gently with the sour dip certainly added to the sweet scallop without drowning it.  A beautiful and slightly different for Bradford, dish.  Very moreish.

Kali Mirch Ka Myth

The Kali Mirch Ka Myth main I ordered sounded totally alien in title, but offered a familiar description with 'Punjabi', 'thick' and 'pepper' jumping from the synopsis, and getting me all a little excited.  However, I have to  honest and say the dish didn't really deliver on it's promise!  Although I hate to say it, I found the dish very bland and a bit soupy!  It was more like pie filling in taste than curry.  On occasion a fragrant pepper corn was happened upon, which added some interest to the proceeding, but other than that it was a pretty uninspiring trudge from the first mouthful to the last.  It is not often I am negative about a Bradford Curry, but I am finding any positives difficult to find.
Lamb Sultani

Lynda's Sultani was a far superior main and, although I didn't get to eat much of it, there was bags more firey  flavor in evidence, and I must admit to being a touch jealous.

So all in all, exquisite sea food starter, followed but indifferent main course.  As in the past, Zouk is an excellent  dining experience, and is still something different to a lot of Bradford Curry establishment, but its strengths seem to remain firmly in the grill department - which is no bad thing I suppose.

*I'm not a Doctor - and the use of beer and curry as recovery fluid and food after extreme exercise is at the individuals own risk :-)

Zouk Tea Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

THE Best Lamb Dhansak I have Ever Eaten....

Yes it is true - quite simply THE best Dhansak I'd ever eaten - this Curry Blogger had an epiphany!

Me on the train
I do like a Dhansak it has to be said.  The generally thick, often gloopy, sauce, created by the dahl, is most agreeable to me, and the sweet and sour accents are a delight.  It was not a surprise that I liked it but...

Here at the Shesh Mahal, the Dhansak was a little different.  Yes the lentils were there, and yes the sweet and sour aspect was there.  However, no gloopyness.  The trade mark bone dry Bradford Curry was much in evidence, with the dahl providing more of a speckled effect within the dry clingy sauce, and offering more bite also.  The seemingly favoured, and welcomed, Sheesh Mahal sourness - evident in many of their curries - was obvious on initial samplings also.  

Me on the street
Then...  BANG!  Little bombs of pineapple sweetness began exploding in my mouth.  Next mouthful... sour meaty lentil curry... Next mouthful  BANG!  And so on.  It appeared here what Sheesh Mahal had achieved, by creating this dry Bradford masterpiece, and avoiding the traditional homogeneous lentil swamp with meat floating in it, was a dish full of surprises.  Hats Off.

And to think, I nearly turned down this curry eating trip!  I would have been mad to do so.

The famous Hector Curry Heute was in town at the Bradford Beer Festival, and had contacted me a couple of days prior to say so.  A date and time was set... Friday at Midnight!  Now, as you, my dear readers, are likely to know, I have a baby daughter.  And as many of you, my dear readers, who may also have baby daughters, will know, a  midnight curry - or midnight anything - is essentially a no no!  These days, little past 9pm ever happens!

Complimentary Starter - Lucky Boys!
Just as I was leaving for the last train into Bradford, the Mrs bided me a fond goodnight with a sly smile and sarcastic "enjoy your curry."  Yes the temptations to slope off to bed with fruit tea, a bag of Mini Eggs and Sky+ was very tempting.

However, a date is a date.

Hector Curry Heute had a 'special' - he doesn't even have to look at the menu!  His account can be read here.  What was brought was a lamb on the bone and spiniach.  I heard no complaints as the bones were relieved of their meat and deposited on a side plate with a resounding clank! 

A great night was had

Hector Curry Heute with curry
Shish Mahal on Urbanspoon