Monday, 1 December 2014

Cafe De Akbar

Is Akbar's the finest Bradford Curry eating experience in Bradford?  The eternal question has just reared its head yet again, following a fantastic trip to the new (new to me but has now been open a while to be fair) Cafe de Akbar.

I've not been to an Akbar's restaurant for a while now - not since the original Akbar's The Cafe closed anyway, and the main restaurant is just too much of a 'night out' for me these days - so it was good to return to the relaxed and easy going cafe style experience.  Indeed, on entering Cafe de Akbar, it is fairly apparent it is essentially the same as the original Akbar's The Cafe.  And not forgetting Akbar's were among the first to branch out to the cafe bar style, and to offer a menu beyond the restrictions of the traditional curry house. Pasta, steaks and shepherd's pie - admittedly with an Asian twist - sit along side more familiar curry restaurant fare (and also includes - for the less squeamish - the likes of tripe and brains!).

However, as nice as an Asian twisted shepherd's pie may be, it's for curry to Akbar's we come.

Before we get to the food, I must say that the service we received was second to non. Our waiter was very friendly, polite, and knowledgeable about the product, and even with the slight mess (very slight) our one year old left on the floor, he wouldn't allow us to clean it up (something the Mrs and I always do - ie our mess = we clean it up!).

So, Lamb Handi with additional chickpeas, and a garlic naan were ordered by me.  I was asked what strength, or if I wanted Asian Style - and the waiter went to lengths explain that Asian Style is more a blend of spices to better replicate a more traditional flavour, rather than just banging in loads of chilli powder!  I thought that that was what the curry should be in the first place... but I didn't say anything and opted for Asian Style.  Lynda selected Fish Karahi, with Rotis.  And we went for the jug of lassi too!

Garlic Naan

We quizzed the waiter for more info on suitable less spicy options on the menu for the children.  We thought we might go down the Shepard's Pie route, but he seemed to suggest the 'Asian Twist' gives a fair amount of spice, and would perhaps not be the best option.  We settled on chicken tikka - and the waiter said they would wash the majority of the spices off prior to cooking.  More of the that good Akbar's service.

Ready for this...
All freshly cooked - indeed, a trip to the toilet, reveals windowed swing doors to the kitchen, with massive stoves and numerous pots and pans beyond - so delivery to the table is not instantaneous, but well within the realms of common decency.

Truly exceptional.  The Asian Style Lamb Handi with Chickpeas was truly exceptional! It had everything  a good curry should possess to me. Right amount of heat to let you know you're actually eating a curry, and perfectly seasoned too.  Deep and rich, and sometimes almost sweet, flavours, from the sauce.  Good quality and quantity of meat, with meaty flavours coming through.  And texturally substantial enough to withstand gravity and not ooze everywhere.  It was not swimming in oil either. Nothing more to say really, just gorgeous. The Garlic Naan was on a different planet too!  Just look at the photo above and look at the amount of garlic on it!  It was blow your head off garlicy (a good thing) and fresh and had soft gooey bits and crispy bits and... and... and... was just yum yum yum!

True to their word the chicken tikka was prepared sympathetically with the children in mid, and was very nice in that tandoored way with it's little crispy and charred bits.  The spicing was very mild and subtle and went down fairly well with the kids... the chips went down better!  Ggrrrr!  THEY WILL LEARN ONE DAY!  I didn't really try the Fish Karahi, but seemed to be well appreciated by Lynda.

Great food, Great service and great swishy restaurant...  So, well, is Akbar's the best in town.... hhhmmmm???

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