Sticking with the Leeds vibe, a trendy cafe bar called the Punjabi Sizzler Bar and Cafe has opened up in an area of Leeds close to where I work (Sheepscar). Decked out in white with orange highlights, tiled floor and dark wood tables and chairs, it's seriously bling! In addition is a banging R&B sound track! Well there was when I visited. From my seat the bar looked well stocked with various draft beers etc and spirits. The cafe was spacious and had a relaxed overall ambience. Very nice.
Friday, 31 January 2014
Friday, 24 January 2014
Bradford related this post.
Although this Yaadgaar, I visited recently, is in Harehills, Leeds (note all the red brick in the photos - defo Leeds), I understand there to be two branches in Bradford (I think??). One on Leeds Road, and one on Lilycroft Road, just above Listers Mill there. So I dare say the fare will be essentially the same. Not much info in the inter'web to confirm the/a relationship, however, but I am sure the signage is the same. Could be wrong though.
After a long morning I was in desperate need of a Chaat*. Being in the vicinity of Harehills, and knowing of the existence and day time opening of Yaadgaar, it seemed the ideal solution.
Dinner time and I wander in - initially into the sweet shop. "Am I OK to sit in the cafe please?" I asked peering at the empty cafe section. "No problem" was the response. So I took a seat in the adjoining small cafe and got the paper out. The staff continued to unload a delivery van. Five minutes later someone poked their head around the corner and asked if I'd like to eat something? Bless - I must have looked destitute or something, and simply seeking warm and dry refuge! "Oh, err, yes please - Samosa Chaat please?" No menu was offered, but a small paper leaflet was on the table - giving an idea of what was on offer at lunch time - and some posters on the wall advertising Apna style curries, so I know roughly where I was going.
"Double/single... Vegetable/chicken?" was the comeback. "Vege double Please.." and the deed was done.
A superb bowl full of Samosa Chaat and a bottle of water arrived within minutes.
|What a great dish|
Heat, texture, temperature contrast, sweet/sour. Samosa Chaat has everything, and is just a fantastic meal, and I can say Yaadgaar do a brill. version too. I didn't notice any tamarind juice as such, but definite sour notes were detected. The underlying lying samosa's were good quality with crispy pastry and contained vibrant and fresh peas in amongst the tasty potato filling. Nice and spicy hot too, but with cooling yoghurt it never gets out of hand. Sweet chilli sauce adorned the top, which was a nice, if perhaps non-traditional, addition. Only £3!
Samosa Chaat, and other street food snacks, are the new rock n roll.
* Chaat translates to snack
Wednesday, 22 January 2014
Monday, 20 January 2014
Shaan caught my eye recently during a cruise about scoping for future Bradford Curry eating opportunities. On my journey I ended up near the Bradford Royal Infirmary - which is not an area of town I'm familiar with, but turns out to be quite a bustling area. Anyway, I spotted quite a few probable Bradford Curry eating candidates. Shaan seemed the most traditional from my quick driving recce, and I promised myself there and then a visit at my earliest convenience.
My inaugural visit was yet again another lonesome early dinnertime Bradford Curry eating experience (oh how I wish I had some friends). So just gone noon I wandered in to the not long open for the day and still empty restaurant. A nice place with marble effect clad walls, and half the restaurant decked with wicker chairs the other half decked with faux leather. Rather pleasant in the kind of posh but basic curry house vibe. I collected the pretty comprehensive menu from the counter and took my seat in the window. Lots of the usual curries were present but on the back I spotted a type of dish called Taka-Tak, and, I quote (inc. spelling mistake), "Taste a dish which you haven’t tasted before. Lahore’s finest bought to you by Shaan. Freshly cooked dish on a hot thawa." It came in lamb, chicken, chops, brains, trotter, etc varieties.
Oohhhh! It sounded very interesting - and judging from the Youtube clip above, was going to be interesting - and a dish I had not tasted before. So setting my heart on the Lamb Taka-Tak I eagerly awaited the waiter/chef to come take my order. "Only the evening chef can do the Taka-Tak specials" came the response to my request! "I can do you karahi, balti..." A little deflated, I jumped in mid sentence and opted for the straight plain Lamb Karahi... with chapatis (Shaan provides chapatis or rotis with all it's main courses - as it should be :-)) - I couldn't be bothered looking at the menu again!
The Karahi soon arrived and first impressions were of an incredibly meaty tasting dish with, what I find, that almost metallic flavour. Seasoned and spiced nicely too with just a little bit of excess oil in the bottom. The curry was a little lighter coloured than that usual seen around Bradford I though, but it was not bad at all. I guess the middle of the road nature of your bog standard Meat Karahi isn't really going to stretch the taste buds an awful lot - but it's not meant too. As they say - it did exactly what it said on the tin! Three nice warm chewy chapatis and a side salad were served with the dish. It came to a mighty £6! Brilliant value. But it wasn't until I perused the take away menu later an that I realised there aren't any dishes on the menu priced at exactly £6, nor is there a Meat Karahi as such?? So goodness knows what chef prepared for me? All I know is that it was good.
So although a little disappointed not to be able to have my Taka-Tak, I was more than pleased with my meaty Meat Karahi. Shaan has done enough for me to want to return to sample more of their menu, and also have a bash at the Kata-Tak. Until next time....
Wednesday, 15 January 2014
Cafe Regal like to do things a little differently - and at the weekend put on a Curry Breakfast Buffet! Nice. I understand the cafe to be open all week doing brekkie, but from what I gather the buffet is only for the weekend.
Well, for £4.50 (I think it was - something like that??), you get three puris, a cup of tea (normal or pink), which are both prepared fresh per order, and brought to the table, and then as many visits to the breakfast buffet as you can muster! The buffet comprised wet or dry chana (chickpeas), halwa (sweet) and roast potatoes.
So what do you get?
|Cafe Regal. Sweets on left - Restaurant on right|
|On a Bradford Curry Breakfast Mission|
Once the bread arrived I ventured up. The bowls are small, but it doesn't really matter as you can refill as much as you like. So I went for the familiar wet chana, topped with roast potatoes and drizzled in mint/yoghurt sauce, and a second bowl of halwa!
With three puris the breakfast is very filling. The puris were pretty dry, when compared to others I have sampled, were very flacky, and had a rather subtle flavour.
|Chana, Halwa and Puris - a perfect match|
I slipped up topping my chana with the roasted spuds... I managed to mask the flavour of the chana with the a little bit of a... well roasted potato taste! The chana itself was good, but was a little middle of the road. It didn't posses the fire of the Sweet Centre nor the sourness of Mughals. I don't often bother with the sweet Halwa when breakfasting but couldn't really say now, what with a big vat sat there. I'm always happy when I do, however, and Cafe Regal's halwa was one of the finest I've tasted. Lovely sweet semolina based bowl of loveliness to break up the savoury Chana and Puris. Great.
|Pink tea is great|
This was all washed down with pink tea. I nice little touch I thought to include in the single priced breakfast. Pink tea is ace, and nice and sweet and spicy. Very refreshing.
After this little lot, however, I just couldn't face a second second visit to the buffet! So settled up and got off. On reflection Cafe Regal's breakfast was excellent, and the included pink tea made it all the better. I'll definitely be visiting again, but will avoid smothering my Chana with the roasties!
Monday, 13 January 2014
Looks what I spotted at the weekend whilst driving up Listerhills Road? Yes, Yasmins Samosas. There is also a Facebook Page here.
I just had to stop, have a nosy, see what was going on and sample some wares. At the mo, Yasmins Samosas shop seems little more that an outlet for a range fresh/frozen samosas, but a small menu is available (including my favourite Samosa Chaat), and a few tables and chairs are present inside. However, looking at the website, it appears the cafe side of the business is to be expanded. Can't wait.
So, I bought four samosas to take away (two meat and two vege). The Mrs and I ate them later on in the day and all I can say is that they were wonderful. I'm not a massive samosa expert (I'm not an expert on anything!) but I can say the product was fantastic. The pastry was light, crispy and not greasy and the fillings were great. The meat one especially I liked, and had a fair amount of zing! It didn't skimp on the meat either. Reading the website suggests Yasmins are priding themselves on quality and it shows. 75p each! Yes you heard right - 75p each! Warm and ready to go too... I will be back very very soon so watch this space.
Friday, 10 January 2014
|K2 on the left|
Now under new management and apparently serving 'simply the best curry in Britain' according to the sign outside that is! Well we'll see.
Nice inside now with high backed leatherette chairs, laminate flooring, magnolia walls and dark wood tables. Pictures on the walls offer vistas of the mountain K2, perhaps a little unsurprisingly, and the Eiffel Tower! Once seated looking out of the large front window, the view isn't exactly pretty - instead looking directly at the side of an old mill... "Well, may I ask what you expected to see out of a Bradford Curry House window? Sydney Opera House, perhaps? The Hanging Gardens of Babylon? Herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically!" However, I do find a certain something inspiring about the past grandeur of Bradford industrial landscape.
K2 is still a modestly sized restaurant - well compared to the noisy neighbour - seating no more than 30 diners I'd say, and has a little kitchen to the back.
K2 was totally empty at noon - inc. the staff! A bloke eventually wandered down the stairs and greeted me, and seemed genuinely surprised! A quick piny over the t-shirt and he was ready to go though! Balti Gosht from the specials was ordered - off an otherwise pretty standard sort of menu - and a garlic naan (chapatis not included here). No popadoms or anything were brought to the table either, but a small onion side salad and pickle tray did appear with the Balti itself.
|The view from K2s window|
My meal sounded to be being freshly prepared and I was asked how hot I wanted my dish too. Rattling of pots and pans and the slapping of dough could be heard over my shoulder, although I resisted peeping and being too nosy!
The curry was well seasoned for me and my medium heat request was bang on. A deep underlying sweetness was much in evidence. A little oily/gheey but was dense with meat and with little sauce in the classic Bradford Curry way. Chunks of tomato added a fresh dimension. Garlic naan was nice and fresh and... well... garlicky - surprisingly!
Last mouthful and the residual garlic and ghee flavours mingle with the mild zingy heat. Very Good.
£11.60 "but call it a tenner to you Sir" seemed a bit steep for a £7.60 Balti and Naan? Something must have gone a little astray there I thought. I didn't mention it however. More than happy at £10. Fresh, unique food (as in not microwaved mass market stuff), prepared expertly and with care is always is always worth the money.
So, perfectly brilliant Bradford Curry. A little pricier than the norm perhaps, what with having to buy bread separately, but still worth ever penny for the freshly prepared food that makes Bradford famous. I'll be back for more of that.