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24th March 2012 @ ~21:00
(Rob, Gill), Jenny, Pete, Ian, Lara Lynda and John (me)
No children on this trip, so a proper pub-crawl - albeit short - had been engineered in to the start of this Bradford Curry eating trip.
|Inside the Sparrow|
First up was
the Sparrow Bier Café, on North Parade, and a very popular little beer drinking
café-bar it was too. Pretty cool with
exotic beer advertising plaques on the wall, and little Formica tables and
chairs. Although specializing in beer,
we started with a couple of bottle of wine – just to get the evening going you
understand – so can’t really comment on the beer quality. Basically, there were a number of speciality beers, including local ales, on draft, and also bottled continental types
too. It was noted as being, by a member
of our party, “my new favourite place in
for a drink” - high praise indeed and I’m sure it’ll be on the hit list for
pre-curry drinks in the future.
Next was The
Castle Hotel. Here, a famous old
Bradford drinking den was visited by us for the first
time. To be honest I’ve never really
done much drinking in Bradford really –
probably shows. The Castle Hotel is a
pretty bog standard ‘oldie worldy’ pub with a good selection of Real Ales. I understand it to be popular with the CAMARA
types. I had a pint of something, which
name escapes me, but was quite hoppy I recall.
|Inside the Fighting Cock|
was rumbling now, but one final drink was to be taken at, from what I
understand to be, the Bradford pub that towers above all other
Bradford pubs – The Fighting Cock. You see, again, I’ve never been. I’ve been aware of its presence, and driven
past and seen all the beer barrels out side but never stepped inside. It certainly looks the business, and was
expecting a real dark and dingy, small, spit and sawdust type of place. How wrong I was. It was full of trendy types sipping at their
artisan real ales. Surprisingly large
inside, it was very reminiscing of Fanny’s in Shipley, which we visited a
couple of months ago. It is a Bradford institution and one not to be missed. Dutch lager was my weapon of choice. It was good, it was lager.
Another big plus point for the Fighting Cock is that it’s just around the corner from the Punjab Sweet House & Grill Centre.
|The Mixed Sizzling Starter|
Punjab don’t seem
to like to advertise, and don’t have a web site!! Other than driving past on occasion, the Punjab has passed me by entirely. However, word of mouth is a powerful thing,
and once probing the enigma that is the Punjab Sweet House and Centre,
it was clear that the establishment is held in high regard. Therefore, I was hoping to find a hidden gem
and something a little special off the beaten track. Also, the aforementioned Fighting Cock was
around the corner. Grill
drinking time meant we arrived at the
gone 9pm. This was good because the tea
time rush was starting to ease some what – when we passed on our way the ‘Cock
it was heaving.
|Atmospheric Shot of Punjab|
kitchen was a nice to see and it was good to spend a few moments watching the
chefs producing the fresh food with bursts of flames and bangs and clatters,
and loading the tandoors with freshly rolled nanns. The
was looking promising.
Décor fell into the posh café style. It was clean and presentable. There is also an attached sweet centre, but this was closed by the time we left. We’ll have to ensure an earlier eating time for our next visit.
|Inside the Punjab|
No complimentary poppadoms to munch on as we perused the menu, but these were ordered as a pre starter to our Special Mixed Grill. We asked for the chicken wings to be swapped for more chicken tikka, which was not a problem; and the dish arrived spitting and sizzling on its red hot cast iron plinth. All aspects of the dish (lamb chops, chicken tikka and kebabs) were wonderful – moist, succulent, full of flavour with spice that danced on the tongue and attacked every taste bud.
The menu was
full and varied as whole, but didn’t offer too many dish options beyond the
standard fare seen all over
Bradford. However, the Lamb Handi (on the bone) jumped
out at me as something worth trying. I’m
glad I did. The dish was pomp and
ceremony, and arrived bubbling away in a clay pot held aloft and heated by its
own tea light fuelled holder - very grand and unique. A new experience was about to be had I could
tell. As for the taste – it wasn’t all
‘talk and no trousers’ either – and the word rich doesn’t do it justice!! I’m guessing all the marrow from the bones
must have seeped out to produce a curry with depth of flavour far beyond the any
I’ve sampled in this town… indeed the world.
The Handi was ultimate hedonistic decadence in curry form - quite simply
Drinks Policy and range
Punjab is strictly
alcohol free. Calibrate in the Fighting
Cock – if that’s your bag – prior to your arrival, and enjoy the delights of
tap water and lassi during your meal.
|Another shot of the Lamb Handi|