Feature Leeds Guide Curry Awards
We tax four of Leeds' best curry restaurants to create their favourite curry, match it with sundries and a drink – who will win?
Feature: Leeds Guide Curry Awards
An annual mainstay for Leeds Guide for many-a-year, the curry awards is a great celebrate some of the best spice-focussed restaurants in our city, taste some exciting flavour combinations and pick our winner for the year. It’s also a pretty good excuse for us to eat curries and talk about good food – as if we needed one!
The Bird at Alea Casino
Situated, as the name suggests, within Clarence Dock’s Alea Casino, The Bird at Alea was devised by the first Indian chef in the UK to gain a Michelin star – Vineet Bhatia – and blends traditional Indian cooking with some very modern twists. Their starters include a tapas-themed sharing plate of Indian street food, while mains vary from traditional handis to banana leaf wrapped pan grilled fish fillets. The restaurant itself is slick and swanky – as you’d expected from somewhere based inside a casino. Alea Casino, 4 The Boulevard, Clarence Dock, LS10 1PZ, 0113 341 3200, www.aleacasinos.com
What they cooked: Nariyal jhinga-chilli coconut prawns; Saffron biryani; Deep fried beetroot and spinach poori (puff breads). To drink: Mint, mango and rose sherbet
This city centre eatery on the edge of Millennium Square has a formidable reputation for quality food and superb presentation. The restaurant specialises in traditional Thai cooking, but the restaurant itself is very sleek, modern and design-led. This combination has made it a popular destination for Leeds diners. New Portland Place, 7 Calverley Street, LS1 3DY, 0113 243 6333, www.thaiedgeleeds.co.uk
What they cooked: Char-grilled tenderloin of beef topped with Thai green curry sauce and Thai red panang curry sauce; Steamed Thai jasmine rice with coconut cream. To drink: Fresh mango and strawberry smoothie.
Opened up in December 2009 on Kirkstall Road, the kitchen at Hasan’s is led by the head chef and pioneer for the much-loved menu at sister restaurant Sheesh Mahal. While the quality of the food is comparable to its neighbouring restaurant, the rest of Hasan’s is very different – it’s a brash, modern Bollywood-themed restaurant, that’s both laid back and opulent. 352-354 Kirkstall Road, LS4 2HQ, 0113 278 8990, www.hasans.co.uk
What they cooked: Nihari (lamb shanks), a traditional Punjabi dish cooked with different intricate spices and served with garnish of garam masala, green chillies, ginger and fresh coriander; fresh garlic and coriander nan. To drink: Sour Fizz, freshly squeezed orange, lemon and lime topped with lemonade.
Mango Vegetarian Restaurant
A family run restaurant that operates as vegetarian cafe and deli during the day and as a great Indian restaurant by night. The dishes here are cleverly spiced and put together with care in the open kitchen while you watch. 12 Bank Street, Wetherby, LS22 6NQ, 01937 585 755, www.mangovegetarianltd.co.uk
What they cooked: Malai methi kofta; Baby paratha; Pilau rice; Cucumber raita; Kachumber; Tempered green chilli; Papad; Mango chutney. To drink: Fresh mango lassi.
Four judges for four restaurants. The four chaps charged with the hard task of eating four different curries and chatting about them were Leeds Guide editor Tom Goodhand, who should hopefully know a bit about good food, because he looks after the food and drink section of this very magazine. Rating alongside Tom were Nick Copland, who runs The Source at Leeds Kirkgate Market. The Source is one the newest tenants at the market and it’s set up to help promote the food and drink offerings within the building and get more shoppers to use the city’s great resource. Our third judge was Scot Masey, chief lecturer in hospitality and catering at Leeds City College Thomas Danby Campus. As Thomas Danby’s resident food expert, Scott teaches students everything from professional chef diplomas to NVQs in food preparation, looks after chef apprenticeship schemes with Harvey Nichols and lots more. Our final judge for the day was Norman Bar‘s Maveer Singh-Pangu, a man who was brought up with authetic Indian cooking and now works at Norman, where they serve up a range of meals including a mean Thai curry.
Without knowing which restaurant had provided each dish and drink, our judges rated each out of 10 on presentation, aroma, taste, innovation and the food and drink match – with the scores then added up to decide on a winner and runner up.
It goes without saying that the quality was very high in this year’s awards. All four contestants put forward a quality main dish with well matched sundries and refreshing drinks (to match the unusually balmy summer day we held to event on). Especially note-worthy was the immaculate presentation from Thai Edge – all carved vegetables and rice wrapped in banana leaves – the melt-in-your-mouth lamb from Hasan’s, the tri-colour beetroot and spinach poori from Alea and the blend of flavours on display in the mix-and-match plate from Mango.
With all four judges’ picking the same top restaurant, there was no doubt that the winner of the day was…
Mango Vegetarian Restaurant
The judges were particularly impressed with the combination and balance of flavours on offer, with each element combining pretty much perfectly with the next. While all four judges were meat-eaters, they were won over by the texture of the kofta and the clear effort that had gone in to producing such a well-rounded dish, with each part clearly well-considered.
As we said, the quality was high throughout the competition, but when the judges’ scores were totted up, second place fell to…
The Bird at Alea Casino
The Bird’s dish of nariyal jhinga-chilli coconut prawns was rich and smooth, with a balance of sweet from the coconut and spice from the chilli, the accompanying saffron biryani rice was complex and interesting, while the tri-colour beetroot and spinach poori were visually arresting.
Posted on Wednesday 10th August 2011
Sending you to Twitter, hold on...
Comments on Feature: Leeds Guide Curry Awards
Comment by S SinghPosted on Thu 11th Aug 11 3:36 pm
is it on Leeds guide paper edition or just internet? , when is this being published in paper edition? thanks
Comment by Simon GoldblumPosted on Thu 11th Aug 11 3:56 pm
It’s in the new magazine which came out yesterday as well as online.