Monday, August 25, 2008

acclaim to AKBAR's The Grand in Leeds (UK)

On my second and final night in Leeds, I really wanted Indian food as it is always top notch here in the UK, and it was not hard to convince Will of the same, knowing that Samuel likes somosas, Our hotel and the guide books recommended AKBAR's THE GRAND at 16 Greek Street, just two blocks from the City Square where we dined the night before in the heart of the city, which is a vibrant up and coming area for al sorts of activity. It was, however, August bank holiday (e.g.. Labor Day), so many spots were closed.

Luckily, Akbar's was open and heaving. At 7pm it was almost full and the noise levels were high as we settled into high black leather chairs with the bit-too-dark lighting; although I did like the large votives hung on the central pillars. Samuel discovered "appleteaser," a fizzy apple juice and enjoyed a simple KEEMA SOMOSA if chicken onion and corn with no sauce.

The Papadam came with two superb chutneys: Tomato and Onion..I can't recall better. A HOUGHTON 2006 Western Australia Verdelho was bright and crisp and great with the spicy food.

The starters were MASALA FISH--a spiced and flash fried haddock (Sam loved the fish too)that was to die for and MURGH TIKKA a strongly spiced (ginger,garlic,coriander) chicken marinated in yoghurt then skewered and grilled to perfection. The cucumber and yoghurt raita was almost a necessity to cut the spice.

Our entrees were RISHAN LAL, a boneless lamb with onion, tomato and pepper with coriander which really needed the brown rice and was so filling and a miraculous MURGH TIKKA and KEEMA (not to be confused with the Murgh Tikka starter) which was a combination of large chicken chunk pot-roasted and mixed with minced lamb, ginger, garlic, herbs and spices. Even more filling than the lamb alone, this was a really novel and great dish. The NAAN we ordered was KULCHA with onion and cheese, but we marveled and the plain naan served at so many nearby tables on 3 foot tall metal hooks; our server insisted this was a tradition (at Akbars!!). We enjoyed a glass of HARDY's SHIRAZ and Sam requested the Strawberry Ice Cream--which they were out we agreed to chocolate, and they brought this laden chocolate cake with ice cream and whipped cream which Samuel sneered at (oh, how happy we were as it would have sent him into a sugar frenzy), finally getting the scoop if chocolate, which tasted like it cam from a carton in the freezer way to long (with ice crumbles on it!).

A nice touch was a complimentary plate of fruit including superb slices of Casabah melon, or was it Persian?

We rolled home knowing we had to head north to Will's hometown the next day.