Wednesday, 23 May 2012

New Akbar's

Looks like a new Akbar's is on the way. Spotted the sign across the shop front of the old jumerah!

That'll three Akbar's on Leeds Road! You can't have too many Akbar's I suppose?

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Café Pakeezah

Supermarket cafeterias are not the sort of places I visit very often when in search of gastronomic experiences.  Sausage, chips and beans, egg and water cress sandwich’s and 3week old slices of lemon meringue pie are not my idea of yummy fodder.

However, Pakeezah, who run a brace of Asian supermarkets in Bradford, do things a little differently with their Café Pakeezah concept.

The branch off Thornton Road is essentially like every other supermarket… it sells stuff stacked up on shelves!  However, it’s when you venture down the Food2Go and the café area that things start to get interesting.   You are greeted with a supermarketesque deli/curry counter – but massive - where all and sundry can be viewed for you pleasure, including all the curries, starters and sweets.  It’s a curry lover’s heaven.

From here you can simply choose your curry and take it away, or opt to dine in the café.  It’s now thing’s take a rather splendid turn.  Because once in the café area, with it’s trendy high sided booths, it is difficult to remember that you’re in a supermarket at all.  It’s all proper, with menus and waiters, etc.  No sliding a plastic tray’s here.

Izzy and me order samosa Chaat, Lamb and Spinach (although we were served Chicken and Spinach??) and a garlic Naan.

I wasn’t sure what to expect – probably just quickly micro waved food in a bowl.  But oh no, proper sizzling hot curry in a balti dish and fresh naan.  The curry was excellent and top end restaurant standard easily, and all for £4.50!  £3.95 to take away or ~£50 for 60 protions!!  Yes you can buy you curry from Pakeezah in portions of 60!).  The naan was up there with the best too – very fresh and garlicy.  However, it was the samosa chaat that really struck a chord with me.  I spotted it advertised on a poster in the window – and not every having tried it before I thought it’d be good.  It looked yoghurty too so thought it would be good for Izzy.  The dish came with two warm, stuffed to the gills, tasty meat somosas, smothered in what I assume was the chaat.  The chaat, from what I could tell, comprised chickpea and potato curry, yoghurt and was topped with tamarind sauce, garam masala and fresh chilli’s!!  Please excuse my ignorance if this isn't correct.  As it turned out it wasn’t for Izzy either, but I loved it.  It was the kind of sweet/sour/hot/cold combo that attacks all your taste buds – it was also pretty darn hot (spicy). All for the bargain price of £3.95 (£2.95 take out), and I’ll definitely re visit soon for more.
Chicken and Spinach
Samosa Chaat

Café Pakeezah is definitely worth going out of your way for I reckon – not just a supermarket café, oh no.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Kerala Cafe

Bradford Road,
BD18 3TB,
United Kingdom.

Tell:  01274 595 367!/keralacafeuk
Good pickles including carrot and ginger ones
21st April 2012 @ ~17:30
Gemma, Noel, Jake, Gill, Rob, Jenny, Pete, Lilly, Dan, Lynda, Izzy and John (me)
As always… pretty high.  The amount of research I do pre going to curry restaurants always means my mouth is watering days before visiting.  My research flagged up that Kerala was going to be something completely different to anything else anyone can savor in Bradford… Southern Indian Food.
The Reality
On first inspection of the menu it was immediately obvious we were out of our Bradfordian comfort zone, with a board of fare stuffed full of new to us dishes.  On further perusal, and reading of the descriptions more carefully, some familiarity could be gleaned.  The bread section is a perfect example… no chapattis, naans, etc, but descriptions revealed the breads on offer were ‘like chapttis’, ‘like naan’.
Vada's with coconut dip
So on to starters. After poppadom’s that were served with a good selection of pickles, which included a ginger and carrot pickle – excellent - I chose vada’s.  I’ve not had vada’s before but remembered the Hairy Bikers once cooking them on the telly, and understood them to be essentially a kind of deep fried chickpea doughnut street food type of thingy??  My vada’s were served with a coconut dip and, to be honest, I didn’t really like them – they seemed a little bland?  Now, before I go further, I have no vada experience, so can’t really comment.  They were well cooked and had a nice chewy dense texture, but perhaps needed a dip with a little bit more oomph?  It’s all down to taste at the end of the day I suppose?  Other options such as fish and chicken fries were also ordered, and were well received.
The Dosa's are as big as they look!
My main of Lamb Masala Dosa, although slightly collapsed by the time it arrived, was excellent.  It was massive, and heartily stuffed with a mild and very tasty lamb and potato masala.  A thin lentil soup/dip/sauce was served on the side.  I’ve had dosa’s before and love the concept.  Kerala Café’s dosa was no exception and I loved it all.  A dosa is traditionally made from a slightly fermented batter, and has a slightly sour taste, and is nice and crispy.  A much lighter option compared to Bradford’s usual massive naans etc.  I don’t know the technique for eating but I just dive in!!  Pour the sauce over the whole lot and go for it.  A dosa is an excellent experience if you’ve never had one.
The dinning environment is good café style.  It is basic, with no bells and whistles, but clean and tidy.  There was a lot of glass to the front of the café, and it was a sunny day, so was pretty hot – just like Kerala I guess?  I think twelve of us turning up unannounced slightly startled the staff, and there were some gaps in the courses, but as a whole they managed a sterling job so hats off.
Cool cafe interior
Drinks Policy and range
BYO.  Come prepped if alcohol is to be taken.  No ‘offies’ in the locale that I spotted.  Water, pop and some very nice fruit juices are available off the menu.
I do love a Dosa – and this was it for me.  Also, the Lamb Chettinadu was outstanding.  “The best curry I had in a long time” - was the comment from one of the more ‘hard to please’ BCC members.  ‘Nough said really.
Vada’s – just didn’t get them at all??  Sorry.  To be honest, I have no point of reference, but just didn’t really taste of anything?  Having said that, the under two’s loved them – reason enough for me to love them I suppose maybe?  HHmmm?  The jury is out.
The Damage
A reasonable ~£15pp, as per the norm.  Good food for good money.
Kerala Café is a little out the way, but is definitely worth a visit for, not only the ‘something completely different’ aspect, but for a darn good curry too, and is also open at lunch time.