15 Jul 2014

Date Night At Tharavadu

Kerala was the first stop on our round the world adventure and we are extremely fond of this small state on India's south west coast. Every day we delighted in the fantastic spices, seafood and hospitality of this region. Kerala is famous for its beautiful backwaters, evergreen jungle and Arabian Sea coastline of golden beaches.

review tharavadu restaurant leeds
"Authentic Kerala fish curry (in Leeds!)" 

We had a chance encounter with Tharavadu, their shop front claim as 'The Home of Kerala Cuisine' shone out to us like a beacon from across the street and immediately we were intrigued. From friends we learned that it was Leeds newest 'curry house' and online, we read promising reviews. With 'Date Night' a little overdue we headed down one busy Friday night without a reservation.

Lucky for us we managed to get a table and were seated by a very friendly waiter from Cochin in Kerala. Inside the restaurant was quite dark and the decor clean and simple. Every table was taken and the atmosphere was buzzing from the mixed clientele. From couples to multi-generation families, many were taken by Tharavadu's appeal.

The menu was overwhelming in a good way. Each dish sounded delicious even though the actual spices were not always listed and there was no indicator of heat. As this is Kerala cuisine you can expect lots of coconut, chilli, ginger, and tamarind. Just like when you are in India you order a little blindly which is part of the fun!

review tharavadu restaurant leeds
"A very festive looking plate of Dahi Battata Poori"

We were pretty ravenous after cocktails at Angelica and Distrikt earlier so starters were called for. The Dahi Battata Poori looked very appetising even if we weren't expecting the cold dish we received. The deep-fried potatoes balls were beautifully spiced, but the yoghurt sauce they were smothered in was overpowering and a little excessive. 

We also tried the Cherayi Koonthal, again the Kerala spices were great but the squid rings were just not crispy, a little on the floppy side. 

review tharavadu restaurant leeds

As we were dining on dishes from South India, a fish curry was a must. There were a few equally tempting options on offer and with a little advice from our waiter we opted for the Meen Koottan, a spicy fish curry Kerala style. It was one of the best we've ever had, the creamy sauce was full of flavour and the heat of the chillies packed quite a punch. 

'From the Butcher Shop' we ordered a Kerala version of a lamb and spinach curry. It was delicious and the meat cubes melted in our mouths. Our mains were accompanied by perfect Paratha bread, its so hard to find good paratha outside of Kerala, this layered bread is particularly difficult to execute well. Thravadu's was flaky, stretchy and non-greasy. We loved it! The chapattis and coconut rice were also cooked to perfection.

The main dishes here were the main event for us and we savoured every mouthful.

Throughout dinner the staff were attentive, friendly and knowledgable about their menu. For a restaurant just a few weeks old they seem to have perfectly balanced their menu, their spices and their service.

Kerala cuisine is lighter than the North Indian or Bangladeshi dishes we've lovingly adopted in the UK, but the flavours and spices are just as bold. Tharavadu has rendered up a big, tasty kiss from Kerala straight into the heart of Leeds. Our verdict is to go and try it! Your tastebuds will definitely thank you for it.

A two course meal for two with drinks cost £50 (excluding tips).

1 comment:

  1. Nice pics!!!!!!!!!!! looking a delicious food and fantastic market.I will surely plan my upcoming vacation to this place.