First of all, apologies for starting possibly the best blog in the history of blogs and then leaving you, my loyal readers, hanging on for the next post. I'd like to say it's because I've been manically busy doing all kinds of things, but in reality, I'm just horribly lazy. Although I did spend a full week out and about, eating out, going to various cultural and foodie events as the boyfriend (who has informed me he would like to be known as "D" on this blog) had a week off work. So I have a lot of things to write about.
I'll start with a good old fashioned restaurant review. A couple of weeks ago, feeling full of the Friday feeling, we decided to go out for a curry. Despite living in Leeds for two years now, good curry restaurants are not something we know a lot about (feel free to recommend any!) so we decided to try Akbar's- a chain of curry restaurants with two right here in Leeds. Website here A friend (who knows his curry) had said that the Akbar's restaurant based on the Leeds Road in Bradford had the best curry he'd ever eaten, so we decided to go to the one on Eastgate in Leeds (no reason for choosing this one over the Greek St one, apart from that it's closer to our bus stop!)
Anyway, as it was Friday night, I phoned up to book a table and was told that there was no need if it was just a table for two. Entering the restaurant, D (ever the optimist) was like "er, are you sure we didn't have to book, it's rammed!" It was incredibly busy but we were shown to the bar area and told it would only be a 10-15 minute wait. The bar is up a level from the main restaurant and you can look down on everyone eating, which, if you are nosy and love people watching like me, makes the wait not seem as bad. Anyway, it was only about 5 minutes wait in the end, so I had to stop my er...spying on other tables and go and sit down.
The restaurant was comfortingly busy (I always feel a bit uneasy eating in empty restaurants!) and there was a great, fun atmosphere in there- lots of big groups of men out for the traditional Friday night curry and pints, and a reassuringly large number of Indian people- if Indians choose to eat there, the food must be authentic.
The menu was nothing groundbreaking- all the traditional dishes that you'd expect to see were on there- chicken tikka masala, rogan josh, baltis etc, and D and I opted for mains off the "Chef's Specialities" section, just to try something different. For starters we ordered the keema samosas- lamb, onion and sweetcorn in pastry, and the vegetarian poori- mushroom and potato on crispy fried bread. I'd been desperate to try a poori since watching the finals of Masterchef where one of the finalists had to cook 50 of them for an Indian breakfast, so was excited to see them on the menu here.
The samosas were delicious; crisp on the outside,not at all greasy, like some samosas can be, and filled with a delicately spiced lamb mince. The sweetcorn looked suspiciously green and pea like- I think they might have put the wrong vegetable on the menu, but I thought lamb and sweetcorn was a slightly odd combination anyway, so the unexpected switch to peas was welcomed by both of us!
The vegetable poori was incredible. The spicy mushroom and potato mixture on top was so tasty, I could have eaten a whole bowl of it for my main as well and probably asked for another lot to take home. D was equally as impressed, and as we were sharing starters, looked quite cross when I grabbed the last mouthful. Both starters came with a generous side salad, although the inclusion of olives was a bit odd- olives and curry spices are not a fantastic match!
For main course, I ordered the Karahi fish and potato- chunks of white fish cooked with potato and peppers in a spicy tomato sauce. It was really nice and light, and didn't have that offputting layer of grease on top that you often get with takeaway curries. The fish was soft and beautifully cooked, as were all the vegetables- my only complaint were the massive chunks of raw chili pepper in there- if you're going to add chilli, either cut in into smaller bits or cook it in the sauce for a bit- they were a little intense!
D had the same chilli issue with his curry, a Lamb Handi- chunks of lamb cooked in a dry sauce of chillies, spices, lemon and coriander. The lamb was meltingly tender, served in a rich, thick sauce- D described it as having a "dull" flavour- this does not mean boring by the way, if you've ever had a curry similar, you'll know what he means! Despite it being quite rich, he polished the lot off, which is a testament to its deliciousness- unlike me, D doesn't feel the need to finish every mouthful of a meal unless he really really likes it. (Not sure how he has such good self control... I'm the opposite, never take me to an all you can eat buffet!!)
To accompany our curries, we ordered a portion of pilau rice, and a naan bread to share. There was tons of rice- we were convinced we'd actually been given two portions, but we were only charged for one, so if you're going to Akbar's, it's probably best to share! The naan breads were equally as huge, and they came on one of those naan bread "spears"- you know, the ones that Gordon Ramsay absolutely hated on Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. I quite liked the "spear" though, it stopped the naan getting soggy on a plate, and it was easy to tear bits off. (Sorry Gordon!) The naan was amazing- light and crispy and not at all stodgy.
The bill for two only came to £36- two starters, two mains, two sides, a glass of wine and a beer. Excellent value for such a tasty meal- I'm not sure how authentically Indian Akbar's is, but all the food was a lot nicer than your average takeaway, and now I really want to travel to the one in Bradford to see if it is, in fact, the best curry in Yorkshire.
(Only one complaint- the dodgy lighting in the restaurant has made my photos come out all blurry and of quite poor quality, apologies for that!)