Tag Archives: Headingley

The Cat’s Pyjamas, Leeds 

Hmmmm….Indian street food….small plates in Leeds….definitely rings a bell?! Leeds has its fair share of outstanding establishments – Bundobust and Manjit’s Kitchen automatically spring to mind, then there’s Prashad further afield in Drighlington who’ve flown the flag of great Indian food for years! So when The Cat’s Pyjamas opened in Headingley, I wondered how it would compare to these already well-loved spots, also how it would fit into the area itself. Back in the day, Headingley and Woodhouse Lane were the perfect places for a messy curry, I remember many a memorable night spent at Tariqs, Akmals or even Nafees (a late-nighter, think it’s now the Balti King?), so along with Khana Bombay Cafe is there a new breed of curry houses populating this part of Leeds?

I’d missed their launch event, but a few positive reviews and tempting food snaps on Instagram was enough to get us turning up on spec a few weeks ago. Already quite busy at 6pm, we managed to nick a table in-between bookings. One early plus was the varied gluten free menu, which kept my husband happy! Pity we were still a tad full from lunch at Lupe’s Cantina Mexicana, so instead of ordering a table full we sensibly chose a pickle tray/poppadoms, a couple of starters and a curry with rice. Of the two starters my favourite was the Keralan beef fry, an unexpected dish as the cow is considered a sacred animal in many parts of India, Kerala being an exception. Here the meat was beautifully tender and highly spiced. The Tandoori mixed grill didn’t really blow me away – the tikka prawns were juicy and gilafi seekh kebab (lamb) well flavoured, but I found the malai tikka (chicken) lacklustre, even though a mint chutney helped bring it to life I found it a bit wanting. 

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Tandoori mixed grill,  Keralan beef fry

The Kheema Matar was generously portioned up and as it was packed with minced lamb it was filling and I doubt I could’ve eaten the whole thing on my own. This highly flavoured dish came with a warming smack of heat and the addition of peas provided some sweetness to the dish.

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Kheema matar and pilau rice

Overall I liked the food, there were a lot of positives, but still a work in progress. Also considering it’s in Headingley, the place isn’t particularly cheap and I feel you get better value and tastier food elsewhere. 

The Cat’s Pyjamas

53 Otley Rd

Leeds

LS6 3AB

http://www.thecatspjs.co.uk

Khana Bombay Cafe, Leeds

Many moons ago, when I first moved to Leeds my mates and I would start out the weekend in Headingley. Every Friday, I’d get there around 4pm with a friend/work colleague and we’d set up stall in the Arc. On a weekly basis a ritual of feasting on plates of potato wedges with white wine started?!?! Who knows why, it sounds bizarre now! Our mates would join us and at closing time we’d pile into taxis and head into town, Oporto to be exact, which is where we’d be until the early hours. One thing I also remember was back in those days, the Lounge cinema was still doing business on the corner by the Arc, one of the last films I watched there was Lord of the Rings one December (not sure which part) we’d sit on the red velvet seats with our drinks from the downstairs bar. 

How things have changed since those days – the Lounge closed years ago, was vacant for ages and my memory fails me to what’s been there in recent times, but obviously nothing that had staying power. 

My jaunt up to Leeds in the Easter hols had come after my Chicago trip, so my spending budget was tight – always frustrating when I just want to try as many spots as possible! 

For one reason or another, Headingley was were I was catching up with an old mate, and keeping an eye on the city’s food scene I sort’ve knew there were a few places to try. Khana Bombay Cafe was one that was open all day and their food deals came as a bonus. Advertised as an all-day cafe the menu has lots to get the juices flowing, and in a similar style to faves Bundobust and Tharavadu have gone for a modern feel. 

The restaurant benefits from large windows letting light in and also the upstairs for extra dining space. Whilst downstairs there’s an open kitchen, a spot of nostalgia on the walls with old photos and the odd bit of quirky decoration, e.g. the front of a truck doubling as the front of a counter. The bit I found a little odd were the ropes, picking a table by the window meant I was faced by ropes slightly reminiscent of nooses hanging from the ceiling. These ropes draped across towards the window and hung down like school gym ropes, you probably know the ones I mean?! Maybe I just didn’t get the whole aesthetic!


The deals on paper looked straight forward, but needed clarification – could we still get 50% off the lunchtime offer – which was a good one in its own right. The answer was ‘yes’, so after quite a long time perusing the menu and chatting, we got our act together and ordered.

The lunch deals looked too tempting – 3 small plates for £10, followed by curry/biryani with two sides for £14 and by sticking to water, we hoped for a bargain lunch especially with the 50% discount also applying.

Apart from a couple of other tables we were the only people there, it was Easter hols so students were few and far between. Smells from the kitchen very gently wafted across, suggesting a decent ventilation system especially with an open kitchen! 

Waiting times were fine, as they should’ve been considering it wasn’t busy, so soon we were brought a vegetable samosa chaat, chicken kathi roll and an aloo tikka. My favourite was the kathi roll, which on its own was a good size and filled with lots of nicely spiced chicken. The samosa chaat was tasty, but lacked the punch I was expecting, my love of the samosa chaat from street food queen Manjit of Manjit’s Kitchen remains. The balance between crunch from samosa and soft chickpea and tangy sauce was a bit off kilter too, personally a little less of the chickpea and more samosa for me, but that’s me being very picky. The aloo tikka were also gently spiced and could’ve been a little crisper on the outside, however tasty nonetheless. 

A short wait for the main courses brought a chicken karahi, plain naan and steamed rice, all of which couldn’t be faulted. The curry was really enjoyable, had the spiciness I expected and came in a generous portion. I love it when naan breads aren’t piddly tiny things and this wasn’t, coming with a bit of chew and beautifully blistered and gnarly every now and again it was a good one. The rice, steamed was lovely and fluffy, so all in all the three together was a winner in my book. 

So how much did our lunch come to – an absolute steal at £12.35 in total!!! I’m not sure how long the deal is on for, if it is remember to book online to qualify for the discount. Overall Khana Bombay Cafe is doing lots of things right, the food’s tasty and service is friendly. It’s great to see the place being used again – I hope it lasts!!

Khana Bombay Cafe

North Lane

Headingley 

Leeds

http://khanabombaycafe.com

 

Ecco Pizzeria, Leeds

My friend and I had tried to go to Ecco Pizzeria in Headingley a number of times, each time it was closed for different reasons. I’d read good things about the place, so for a recent catch up last Saturday we ventured up at 12pm, opening time. It’s a small establishment and whenever I’ve walked passed it’s always been busy, which is definitely a promising sign.

When I arrived I was greeted by a waitress who immediately showed me to a free table. My friend and toddler joined me soon after, we were asked if we’d visited before, and as we hadn’t she then explained how their menu worked. They offer two different pizza sizes – either a 12″ or a 1/2 metre pizza, where you can have 2 different toppings. It works out to be two 12″ pizzas without the extra crust, and they are also a little cheaper too.

Ecco promote the fact that they use centuries old Neapolitan techniques to make their authentic pizzas. They use a hand built wood burning oven from Naples to cook their food and their pizzas cook in less than 90 seconds in a temperature in excess of 800°C. They say they use San Marzano tomatoes or fresh tomatoes broken up by hand, Italian olive oil and seasonal ingredients from local producers. 

Their menu is broken up into starters, e.g. chicken wings and dough balls, a range of side salads, e.g. Moroccan salad or Pollo Caesar salad, chicken – 1/4, 1/2 or whole, and an extensive range of pizzas and calzone, ranging from the humble Margherita to a Marrakech (Slow cooked Moroccan spiced lamb).

We decided to just go straight for the 1/2 metre pizza, deciding on a 4 formaggi and the meatball toppings, something that would suit a toddler and the hungry carnivores we both are.

Half metre pizza with 2 toppings - 4 formaggi and meatball
Half metre pizza with 2 toppings – 4 formaggi and meatball

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My friend who has is part Italian knows a good pizza when he eats one and he loved it. I must agree wholeheartedly, it was very good indeed. The dough was lovely and thin, just the way I like it, and the crust rather than being thick and doughy was light and not heavy in the slightest. Neither of us was going to leave any crust behind!! We may not have had any starters but were tempted by the desserts so sorbets and a milkshake were ordered, all were enjoyed and wolfed down quickly. 

Raspberry sorbet
Raspberry sorbet
Cookies & cream shake - Oreo cookies blended with vanilla ice cream topped with rich chocolate sauce, whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles and a rolled wafer.
Cookies & cream shake – Oreo cookies blended with vanilla ice cream topped with rich chocolate sauce, whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles and a rolled wafer.

Service was good throughout and the people were very pleasant and welcoming. It was great to see the pizzas being made right in front of you, literally a metre or two away depending on where you sit in the place. With the oven just behind the pizza maker you can see it being cooked too. 

I’m definitely going back to Ecco, we had a great lunch overall. The pizzas are great and I think some of the best I’ve had in Leeds!

Our bill was £25 for 2 people and a toddler, very reasonable I think!!! 

Food: Pizzas were fab!!

Service: Quick and friendly.

Atmosphere: Had a nice buzz with the pizzas being made in front of you and the place quickly filled up creating a good atmosphere.

Ecco Pizzeria
93 Otley Road 
Leeds 
LS63PS
0113 278 28 28 

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