Thursday, 27 February 2014

Browns Delights, Hyde Park, Leeds

The brutal hot chilli sauce!
Browns Delights Curried Mutton Rice and Peas - Yes please, don't mind if I do!

A perfect and satisfyingly yummy dish if ever there was one... the old Curry Goat (Mutton in this case).  Always a little milder than the Indian counterparts, but the taste of the sunny, warm Caribbean seeps through the consciousness spoonful after spoonful.  It's great...

Even peering through the window to the rather drizzly and drab brick Hyde Park vista, could not spoil the 15 minutes I had with the Curried Mutton.

Browns Delights version oozed quality.  No potato or veg filler here, just very tender, melt in the mouth mutton.  Only one small bone detected too - although not an issue as used to Curry Goat often being served 'on the bone'. Excellent quality dish. Well seasoned and very very tasty. I over did it with the hot chilli sauce condiment, and made my Mutton a touch too hot!  But I soldiered on! Otherwise a wonderfully balanced dish in the classic curry goat style.

Curried Mutton, Rice and Peas + foolish application of chilli sauce.
Browns Delights is a simple little cafe, with quaint mismatched tables and chairs and chalk board menus. Very friendly and efficient service, made me feel right at home.  A variety of hot/cold sandwiches are offered in addition to the traditional Caribbean fair.  I will definitely be visiting more often - I can see yet another regular haunt here. 

Monday, 17 February 2014

Bundobust Staking

Bundobust staking.... this time at their most recent pop up at the brilliant Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen's Street Feast Event.

Basically, Belgrave Music Hall has a bit of everything - large bar area, a large music venue upstairs, a large terrace on the roof!  Large... I guess you get the idea?  Also - seems good for kids (through the day), cool food, beer, and seems to attract the Leeds hipsters.  Anyway, once a month or so the bar area is passed over to various foodie pop up stalls - in addition to the resident burger and pizza outlets - and the Street Feast happens.  This month it not only included the fabulous Bundobust, but also a fish stall (Fish&) doing mussels in lager, and guy doing some kind of Japanese dumplings, there's coffee, cake, and various guest beers. We could have spent all day there... I wonder if that's the idea??

Daughter yet to fully appreciate Bundobust,
But loved Belgrave's roof terrace.
B for Bundobust maybe?

Blurry Bundobust
Anyway, onto Bundobust.  Today they were offering two dishes - Pav Bhaji and Bundo Chaat.  I've sampled their fantastic Pav Bhaji a couple of times already, so Bundo Chaat it was for me.  I'm really into this street food/snack/chaat type of stuff at the mo.  My recent Blog posts must give that away somewhat?  I find, as opposed to the everyday curries, the Chaaty type dishes seem so fresh, vibrant and zingy – they are also new and exciting to me.  They are a far cry from the heavy baltis/karahis/etc of this world.

The Bundo Chaat comprised shards of crunchy samosa pastry with chickpeas, tamarind and yogurt etc and had that Samosa Chaat vibe I guess, with it's flavour sensations and crunchy textural notes.  A lighter snack sans samosas though and more a sensory attack than a full on feed - it's a chaat - a snack.  Perfect with a beer - which is exactly how I enjoyed it.

I'm pretty sure I will be spending much time in Bundobust once it opens.

Bundo Chaat and a pint - perfect

Dhesi Sweet centre

Still got the Chaats!  

Dhesi Sweet Centre  (DSC), Harehills - but DSC has more shops locally in Pudsey and on Leeds Road, Bradford - with more branches nationally - so this post is kind of Bradford Curry related.  

DSC in Harehills is essentially a small sweet shop, which also sells a good selection of vegetarian snacks and curries. DSC was brought to my attention by a fellow Blog reader who recommended DSC (Pudsey branch but I guess they'll be much of a muchness), and as I'm one to listen to my readers a visit was bumped up the hit list.

The attached photos throughout this post are actually from two visits!  Yes, I enjoyed my first visit so much, I had to go back almost immediately!  What was the draw I here you ask?  Pani Puri (aslo known as Gol Gappa)...

Pani Puri (Gol Gappa) Round 1

According to Wiki, Pani Puri is basically a street food dish from the likes of Mumbai, and is also known as Gol Gappa in the north of the country, and translates to 'watery bread' or 'crispy sphere eaten'!  And doesn't sound overly appetising when said like that! As a totally new concept for me I just had to try.  As a precursor, I'd spotted people eating these little stuffed balls of pastry a couple of times in various places and had wondered what on earth was going on... A bit of internet homework later and... Pani Puri was the out come.  Further homework and a couple of places reared their ugly heads - Dhesi Sweet Centre was one.

Always a bit daunting going in somewhere new alone, and sheepishly I asked the nice lady behind the counter for Pani Puri, and also for an Aloo Paratha (Flat bread made with ghee) just to bulk it out a bit.  A nod of agreement and she disappeared round the back.  I sat. The little cafe is fine enough and seats about 12 - 16 people on fixed bench seats and tables.  No frills.  
On arrival, the little balls had been kindly pre stuffed with chickpeas/potato, and were presented simply on a metal platter with separate chutney and a little jug of the flavoured water.  The nice lady sensed my 'rabbit caught in the headlights' and ensured I was up to speed with the etiquette before leaving me to it.  Basically, add a little chutney and top up with water, and bosh - straight in the gullet. Crunch and BANG! All the flavours hit you at once! Amazing!  So it's sweet/sour eye popping with an after burn of heat.  Very very moreish.  Once you start you can't stop!  Bang bang BANG until your head is spinning!  Highly recommended.

Round 2 and much more of a DIY theme
My second visit, I was left to my own devises more.  A different equally nice lady presented my Pani Puri de-constructed with chickpeas seeming mixed with the sweet chutney and the same little jug of water.  Still simple - a thumb hole in the crispy puri, spoon in the chickpeas, top up with water and wallop - the effect was the same.

An excellent Samosa Chaat
Aloo Parath and massive bowl of yoghurt!
On each of my visits I had additional Aloo Parath and Samosa Chaat.  The Paratha was fine and dandy but perhaps fell victim to the Pani Puri, and came across some what plain.  I was asked if I wanted yoghurt with my paratha...  I said yes OK, thinking I'd get a little bit to dip the bread in - I only got a massive bowl with a spoon??  Quite why I'm not sure?? 

The Samosa chaat came slightly de-constructed with whole samosas rather than crushed, and chickpeas etc to the side - nothing wrong with that and is just representative of yet another variation of the theme.   The flavour was hot with an underlying sweetness - yet again another variation.

I will be a regular here (and other outlets) I'm sure.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Shimla Spice

What a nightmare, what an absolute nightmare!

Whoa whoa whoa, hold you horses, back up a minute there... 

Lets not get off on the wrong foot here.  Don't worry, I'm not eluding to Shimla Spice here - the mighty Shimla Spice by and large delivered... our nightmarish dining experience was the product of.... wait for it.... children! Ours!

Izzy tackles the Naan on a stick like a Pro

Kids in perpetual motion (toilet, window, toilet, window.... repeat!).  Unable to have a conversation - unable to even sit peacefully for more than 2mins!  Rice and popadoms everywhere*! KIDS!  AAaarrgh!

So a dining experience somewhat marred by our kin.  They aren't bad kids, just... just... easily bored and time consuming!  I guess like most kids - yet to discover sitting and chatting over a meal is a pleasurable experience?  In time I'm sure.  So, generally a difficult task to focus on the fodder and to take anything in alas, but I can still make a few observations:

Lahori Masala Fish
Firstly, Wow!  Shimla Spice seems so busy busy busy these days. A real buzzing atmosphere.  A big slap on the back is deserved for all the awards and associated drawing in of the crowds.  Even at 'doors' at 17:30, Shimla Spice was filling quickly! Thankfully we were accommodated, but I was worried for a minute that we were to be unlucky, and moved on!  I think a quick call and booking in the future might be a good idea.

Hot Hot HOT!
Popadoms arrived with the menus, which is always a nice touch, and the perusal and decision making in earnest commenced.  I loved the Achari I had on my last visit, but I was determined to have something new, so Lahori Fish Masala and Lamb Peshwari with a garlic naan were my selection.

Now, I'm not overly full of bravado normally, but when my mate Fran asked for his dish 'really hot', I foolishly followed suit in a 'not to be out done' kind of way and also ordered hot also!  More on that in a minute.

Firstly, the Lahori Masala Fish.  Chuncky and tasty fish coated in a very subtle blend of coarsely ground spices.  Quite delicious.

Now, the Lamb Peshwari (hot!).  My 'Big Man', 'make it hot', 'I can take anything' attitude came back to to bite me on the bum I'm afraid!  Boy it was hot!  Really slipped up, and my silly request slightly spoilt a wonderful curry. However, before I burnt my mouth, I ascertained I'd been served another excellent Shimla Spice curry.  Deeply dark and rich, with sweet and sour tones, and high quota of melt in the mouth lamb. The sauce was thickened with ground almonds and pistachios and made for a hearty and indulgent curry - very decadent if not the most visually appealing!

My mouth was on fire by the end!  Such an idiot I am and such a shame!  I will return to the Lamb Peshwari without fail, but stick to my favoured middle of the road spicing - lesson well and truly learnt!

The Garlic Naan on a stick was high quality, and help a little to quench the fire in my mouth.  Went down well with Izzy who loved reaching up and tearing great chunks off.  A large Naan could be quite daunting to a small 3yr old - but she wasn't perturbed and attacked the bread with gusto.

I understand there to have been a minor confusion with one of the orders and one of our party had to remind the waiter she was still waiting for her food but overall top marks 10/10 yet again for for Shimla Spice.  Great place.

*Sorry for leaving a mess chaps - we will leave a healthy tip next time we are in.

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