I have been meaning to write this blog post for weeks, but what with many changes in my life (new job, woop!) I have been mad busy and have only just got round to it now. So sorry- but hope it's worth the wait!
Manjit's Kitchen is a home delivery service preparing and delivering fresh, home cooked Indian food on Friday and Saturday evenings in Leeds. There are tons and tons of takeaway companies in Leeds- many cooking what they claim to be traditional Indian food and many delivering on weekends to houses in Leeds. So what makes Manjit's Kitchen so unique and special? And why does it receive such amazingly positive reviews?
Well, unlike many traditional "takeaway" services, Manjit's Kitchen is not part of a restaurant, or indeed any kind of professional kitchen setup. All dishes are cooked in a secret location in LS8 in Leeds, in Manjit's very own house. No huge teams of chefs or industrial sized vats of "one sauce fits all dishes" curries- just Manjit herself and fresh, locally sourced ingredients cooked in a home kitchen and sent out with a driver to the customers. (And don't worry, the kitchen is EHO registered so your curries haven't been prepared in a dirty student kitchen somewhere with loads of rats running around!!)
Manjit's menu changes weekly- there is usually only a choice of three main dishes (all vegetarian) plus sides and extras- this week you can order kheer, which is traditional Indian rice pudding, or onion bhajis, plus rice and chapatis. Manjit also sells award winning Indian kulfi from Indie Ices- great to see small local businesses working together. In fact, the whole operation has a great local feel to it- vegetables come from an allotment in Harehills and Manjit has also sourced some ingredients from Oakwood Farmers Market.
Another thing that makes Manjit's Kitchen so unique and different from other home delivery services is that almost all of the publicity and ordering is done via Twitter (@manjitskitchen) No menus through the door, no listings in the Yellow Pages etc- this is pretty much Leeds's first Twitter based foodie enterprise! (If I have actually got this wrong and someone else out there is doing something similar, please do feel free to correct me!) But for me anyway, this innovative way of drumming up business and taking orders only adds to the friendly, local feel of the business- people hear about it through people they follow on Twitter, Manjit DMs (direct messages for those not in the twitterati!) confirmation of the order and lets you know when the driver has left with your food. Even her review page on the website is all comments taken from Twitter! There is a phone number and email address as well so don't despair if you're one of those people who hasn't even got the hang of Facebook yet, there is still a way of ordering.
Anyway, food review, that's what I'm here for right?! I decided to order from Manjit a few weeks ago, sent her a message via Twitter, received confirmation that my order had been received and would be delivered at the time I wanted and at 8pm there was a knock on the door and a delicious smell awaiting me in the kitchen!
Me and D had ordered Chana Masala (chickpeas, onion, tomatoes and spices) and Tarka Daal (lentils, onion, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, spices) with chapatis and cumin rice as a side to share. Apologies for the photo- apparently blue is a really bad background for food photography and we just kind of bunged it all on the plate- the photo definitely does not do the food justice. It was absolutely delicious. Just the right spice level, packed with flavour- each mouthful filled your mouth with such a wonderful combination of heat and spices, and the chickpeas and lentils were perfectly cooked. The rice was fluffy, light and delicately flavoured with cumin and the chapatis were to die for- I prefer them to naan in any case so was glad they were an option on the menu.
Below is a better picture provided by Manjit of her Chana Masala- and yes it does taste as good as it looks in this one! Unlike some Indian takeaways, the curries weren't greasy or oily and it really did feel like I was eating decent home cooked food prepared with care and even a bit of love!
Manjit's Kitchen comes highly recommended from me, and from various others on Twitter. The food is delicious, authentic and full of flavour; the ethos behind the service is one I fully support- buying locally and collaborating with other local businesses, and the service is impeccable. I'd get in there soon if I were you because I think this service is one which will grow and grow- I'd imagine there will be a waiting list soon!
By the way, I am interviewing Manjit herself for the Culture Vulture blog this week, so keep checking that site to find out more.