Tag Archives: Indian

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

 

Thali:Thali, Woking

Friday was spent driving down south to spend the weekend with my husband, the drive was plain sailing until the usual M25 sluggishness, the best thing it afforded was a perfect view of planes coming in to land at Heathrow, as we were directly under the flight path. I’m no plane spotter by any means, but if I’d been a passenger rather than the driver I’d have taken a picture for sure! 

We both fancied dinner out and my first thought was to revisit Soya, the spot where I’d tried my first bibimbap recently, but they were fully booked so we left in search for other options. Not knowing the area that well, we knew we could get some insider knowledge from my brother in-law; he works in the area and recommended Thali:Thali on Chertsey Road, in the heart of Woking’s town centre. 

The place is stylish and modern in its interior, with tables and leather seating lining one wall, then more intimate booths on the other; certainly very different to a more traditional curry house. 

Now being a frustratingly slow reader it took me an age to decide, the menu was extensive and seemed to celebrate dishes from different regions, including as their name would suggest a thali. All the while my husband was helping himself to poppadoms and the pickle tray, as you do! Talking of pickle trays – something I liked was the decent portion of red onion chutney to go along with the trio of sauces, usually you only get a piddly amount and it’s one I always want more of. 

    

When we arrived it was around 7:30pm, just three other tables were occupied so it was fairly quiet. By the end of our meal it was at least three-quarters full with a steady stream of customers and had a good atmosphere. The background music was clearly audible, but it was easy enough to have a conversation with the person opposite. 

To start we were brought dishes called multani jheenga and a Kakori kebab. The menu had stated the Kakori kebab, a regional dish was made by mincing lamb seven times, so we expected an ultra smooth texture. Combined with fried onions, smoked green cardamom, saffron and nutmeg – the final product was certainly smooth, with spice that built gradually and worked well with the raita to temper the heat a touch. My king prawn starter was lovely, the prawns were large and meaty, encrusted in fennel seeds and barbecued giving them a delicate smokey/aniseed taste which allowed the sweetness to come through. As they didn’t have a sauce, the pickle tray came handy again here too. Only three prawns, as big and meaty as they were, I would’ve loved more as it wasn’t the most generous of portions. 

Kakori kebab

Multani Jheenga

For the main course, the other half had ordered a Thali combo with lamb and chicken, whilst I ordered the Murg biryani, a bit of a departure for me, as normally I’m prawns all the way when I have a curry, and also I’m dead boring and go for prawn bhuna with garlic naan every time!! But at Thali:Thali, the menu’s full of regional offerings and there was no hint of a bhuna, vindaloo or the more predictable curries you may see on a menu. The thali had lots of elements and was definitely a bit of a feast, as this was the case it would’ve helped if the waiting staff had given the heads up to what was in each bowl. To me it wasn’t really that obvious, for some of it anyway. On taste he said it was very good, working his way through three quarters until it got a little rich and was too full to finish it off. I helped myself to the naan bread for my biryani which was excellent!!

Combo thali
Combo thali

I’d gone for a Murg biryani – cooked and served in a Handi was chicken and basmati rice, the chicken was incredibly moist and the rice perfectly cooked. Again the subtleness of spicing was a pleasant surprise and a definite departure from those over-spiced curries I’ve had in the past.

Murg biryani with raita

Overall I thought it was an evening well spent. The food was great, waiting times weren’t particularly long and we enjoyed lovely service throughout.

Thali Thali

33 Chertsey Road

Woking

Surrey 

GU21 5AJ

http://www.thali-thali.co.uk/main/index.php

 Thali:Thali on Urbanspoon

Bundobust!

Bundobust is OPEN! I know, it officially opened on the 11th July, but I’ve waited to say it for so long, so I’m gonna. It finally happened, with hoards of Leeds folk waiting for this moment for ages, from the looks of it on social media they were RAVENOUS!

Oh….are there some of you unaware of Bundobust? Well, I like to think of Bundobust as a meeting of minds from Prashad – locally and nationally renowned Gujarati restaurant originally from Bradford, now based in Drighlington, and The Sparrow – well known watering hole in Bradford. Serving up Indian vegetarian street food with style and drinks to match.

The team who came up with this gem are Mayur Patel (Prashad) and Mark Husak (The Sparrow), who’ve teased us with their pop-ups at different venues and events. So much so that when they planted the seed of a permanent venture in Leeds city centre, I’m certain a cry of joy could be heard across Leeds, that’s what I like to imagine happened anyway! 

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Following a couple of preview evenings a continuous stream of teasers on social media quickly ensued, and with early reviews praising both food and venue to the hilt, things looked promising and my expectations were high. By the time of the official opening, word had spread like wildfire demonstrated by a street-long queue waiting to get in!! 

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The place is very laid back – walking through the entrance you’re soon surrounded by a jigsaw puzzle of recycled doors, cushions made from sacks once containing rice and dhal, chip board, naked brick walls and also comes with a dose of quirky minimalism combined with a slice of charm.

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The place is a bit tardis-like, as from the street I didn’t expect the amount of square footage it actually has, and comes with an inspired inside/outside space.

The location could possibly be a stroke of genius; in the centre of town, but far enough from the hustle and bustle of Boar Lane. Maybe like the Northern Quarter, Bundobust’s presence, along with nearby neighbours Friends of Ham and Laynes Espresso will spark the resurgence of this end of town too!

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One thing I immediately noticed walking up to the bar is the signage, I LOVE it!!! This place sets its stall out immediately, with the phrase ‘no beef’ predominately positioned at the bar. 

They seem to have struck a harmonious chord, with the philosophy of combining craft beers and Indian street food at the heart of Bundobust. Not far off a match made in heaven, and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t drink a lot of the stuff!! With this in mind they have a grand selection of handpicked beverages, chosen to pair well with Indian food such as IPA’s and Pilsners. Also great news for those with a gluten intolerance (other half included) Bundobust stock Mongozo, this means they don’t need to miss out either. 

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Being the innovators that they are the team like to experiment, on the bar was a piece of apparatus I hadn’t seen before. Marko informed me it was a Hop Randall which infuses other flavours into beer, such as pineapple and apricot. Even though I’m not the greatest beer or ale drinker by any stretch of the imagination, I may have to sample this at some point!

For those without a penchant for ale, their wine and cocktail list may tempt you, including the Bhang Lassi which I remember fondly from their Belgrave residential. Nestled amongst the choice of soft drinks is the Indian staple Mango Lassi for non-alcohol drinkers. One thing I was gutted about just because I only spotted it as I was leaving – lovely soothing and warm House Chai, having been introduced to this by a mate, I need to remember to get some next time. A fantastic addition to the drinks menu, these guys really have thought of virtually everything!

So what about the food? The food menu or ‘munch’ as they’ve named it is short and concise, 12 items at present, but it’s also well planned as it consists of items which are ideal depending on how hungry you are, whether it be a few snacks to have with their beers, or something more substantial. Marko suggested one small snack with a drink or two, e.g. the Okra fries, for something to accompany it either a samosa-based dish (Bundo Chaat and Bhel Puri) or Bhaji, and for a more filling dish the Dosa, Pethis or Idli Sambhar.

I’d been preparing myself all day for this three courses it was! First the Okra Fries (their memory still echoes from their guest residential at the Belgrave), the Bhaji and Massala Dosa, and to drink a Mango Lassi. The Lassi was perfect for what had been a reasonably warm day, sweet and thick enough to make it incredibly moreish. The addition of the fennel seed and aniseed just makes it come alive and gives it vibrancy.

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Turn over from ordering to table was pretty reasonable; good news for my rumbling belly.

The Okra Fries are a great snack, perfect for dipping into while sipping on of their specially selected beverages. They are exactly as described on the menu – crisp and spiced.

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The bhaji were pretty much perfect – accurately spiced, fried perfectly so they arrived crisp. To complement the bhaji was a tangy sauce, which didn’t play second fiddle and definitely came through nicely. Gotta love fried stuff, in moderation of course!

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I love a Massala Dosa, I remember my first at Prashad and this is a smaller version of that. With a crisp, wafer thin rice flour and lentil crepes, the perfect vehicle for the curry it accompanies. A well balanced, all rounder of a dish – lightly spiced curry, the potato and onion are evident and haven’t just disintegrated, the lentil soup brings a little oomph and the coconut chutney does what it’s supposed to and cools it down when required.

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After all the pop-ups and the hard work, everything has come to fruition and I for one am a HUGE fan. Looking at the response they’ve had it’s obvious I’m one of many!! Bundobust does pose a problem for me though, just the fact that I literally walk up Mill Hill, passed Bundobust every time I come into Leeds may prove lethal, 100% in a good way that is!!

I suppose the saying ‘good things come to those who wait’, would ring true here as the team have delivered big time. If you haven’t been yet, you should go.
The cost of my meal was £15.50. 

I’d definitely recommend Bundobust!!!

Food: Great Indian street food, perfect for sharing or for having all too yourself!!

Service: Staff are lovely and friendly, good at helping with menu choices and food waiting times were very reasonable.

Atmosphere: Good atmosphere, the place had a real buzz even when it was just half full (got there before the after work crowd arrived).

Bundobust
6 Mill Hill  
Leeds
LS1 5DQ
http://www.bundobust.com

Bundobust finally opens on 4th July!!!

Hooray!!! Bundobust are opening after spending months fitting out their premises on Mill Hill in the city centre!! I’ve walked passed countless times, eagerly waiting for the good news and it finally happened. This is one of those occasions when there’s the tiniest bit of regret I’m not accepting freebies anymore, especially when I see the preview invite pop up in the inbox, but I have to decline and will, no doubt feed my face silly when the place is open to the public.

For those of you who don’t know of Bundobust, they are a collaboration between much-loved Prashad, Drighlington’s Indian vegetarian restaurant and The Sparrow pub from Bradford. Their aim is to serve fantastic Indian street food from their street food kitchen, accompanied with great Indian craft beer.

Just to the get the mouth watering and the taste-buds tingling in readiness for the opening, here’s a photo from the pop-up at The Belgrave a few months ago:

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If I was a betting person I doubt the bookies would let me put money on my (popular) prediction; that Bundobust is going to be a highly sought-after food venture. With their crowd-pleasing street food already having a large following; myself included in that long list, I cannot wait to be ordering everything off the menu!! If the food’s anything as good as the stuff they’ve dished up in the past they are definitely onto an odds on winner!

Bundobust opens on the 4th July, I’ll see you there no doubt!!

This date has now been changed to the 11th July.

Bundobust
6 Mill Hill
Leeds
LS1 5DQ

Déjà view @ The Golden Bengal, Horsforth

Last Saturday I’d organised to go for a curry with two friends and a toddler. I’d normally go to my local favourite Amaans in Morley, but I wanted try somewhere else and also venture a little further out, rather than my usual or the city centre. Having lived in Kirkstall a number of years ago I knew Horsforth and Cookridge quite well, but hadn’t been to any of the restaurants in a very long time!!! I’d asked for some advice on Twitter and one of the places that kept being tweeted was The Golden Bengal, when I did a bit of research I then suddenly realised I’d been there about 12 years ago when it was called The Golden Gate. On arrival we were greeted very warmly and this really set the tone for our meal. When we sat at our table, I was definitely having a déjà view moment as I was sat in the same seat looking out onto Low Lane that I’d sat in before. The interior is much different to how I remember, much lighter with a more open feel to it.

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The menu as you can imagine is very extensive and with the usual starters and main dishes, they also have some interesting curries in their signature and fusion dishes. After looking through the extensive menu, we were also given some helpful info on the dishes we decided. Our pickle tray arrived with all the customary goodies – zingy lime pickle (a fellow diner really loved it), the onion relish good because the onioniness, if that’s even a word had been tempered down. You can’t go wrong with a decent mango chutney and a very yummy spiced yoghurt dip.

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Our starters arrived and looked great, I surprised myself for not ordering my usual prawn puree, prawn bhuna combo but opted for a Aloo Chaat on purée instead. A huge thing for me this!!! I was glad for once that I didn’t order my usual, the potato was soft with a hint of garlic and the sauce was mildly spiced. The puree was crisp and the ratio of puree to chaat was just right. The other starters also went down a storm and were polished off in a matter of minutes.

Aloo chaat on puree
Aloo chaat on puree
Saag Aloo
Saag Aloo
Shammi kebab
Shammi kebab

Our main courses were brought out and I was looking forward to my prawn bhuna to see it if had changed much from the meal years before. After the first mouthful it felt like I was transported back 12 years, it tasted exactly how I remembered it. Aptly at the end of the meal one of the sisters said that they had the old chef back in the kitchen working his magic. Prawns perfectly cooked and a great tasting sauce, not too much tomato so just right for me. One of the best bhunas I’ve had in a long time!!! Accompaniments of pilau rice and chapattis were just as they should be too. The butter chicken was spot on!! Very moreish, soft chicken with the wonderful creamy sauce. We also ordered a Byngon bhaji and a plain omelette for a toddler. The Byngon bhaji was a lightly spiced aubergine side dish in a mild masala sauce, it was very tasty indeed and a new one for me, but definitely something I’d order again.

Prawn bhuna
Prawn bhuna
Lamb bhuna
Lamb bhuna
Butter chicken
Butter chicken
Byngon bhaji
Byngon bhaji
Plain omelette with chips and salad
Plain omelette with chips and salad

In terms of cost our total bill was £48 for a pickle tray, 3 starters, 4 main courses and lots of accompaniments and side dishes. The restaurant has a bring your own policy which makes it good value for money. Over the years the Golden Bengal had seen many changes, when I first ate here the father of the family, Mr Abdul Rashid ran the restaurant, but after his passing in 2010 his daughters took on the challenge of running the place. Their hard work has really paid off and it was great to be back after all these years. It’s a fab place for friends and families, the staff are very hospitable and really make an effort in welcoming you and making you feel at home. The food is just as good as I remembered it!!

The Golden Bengal
Low Lane
Horsforth
LS18 5NY
0113 2580751
http://www.thegoldenbengal.co.uk