Tharavadu, Leeds

At the rate I’m going, I may as well have a separate list for Indian restaurants. Tharavadu will be my fourth…out of ten restaurant posts…on Indian food. A strong ratio in my opinion and testament to the delicious options available in Leeds, and (for now) my favourite cuisine!

Tharavadu sits side-by-side with Bundobust on Mill Hill in the centre of Leeds, serving up traditional Kerala food. After reading raving reviews on all sorts of websites, including the 2017 Michelin Guide, my friends and I decided to give it a shot on a Friday night before drinks.

When we arrived it was full to the brim but we booked ahead (highly recommended). My first impression was that the menu was pretty confusing. Maybe that’s a snobby comment, and obviously don’t let that put you off, but it was tricky to understand which dishes were starters and mains. People with a bit more common sense than me might not have the same problem! The interior design wasn’t much to write home about either, but the food (which is really what it’s all about right?) made up for it.

We started with some pre-meal snacks and pickles, which were a nice change from your standard popadoms, including banana chips and thin crispy flour strips called pakkavada.

Me and Alison then shared the Padipura Mix Seafood, a platter of battered fish, prawns, mussels and a mountain of squid. It was ENORMOUS! You could easily share it between 3 or 4 people, and it only costs £8.99! All of it tasted amazing, including the mussels, which I’m not normally a big fan of. A few friends ordered the Kidilan Erachi, lamb cubes in fresh spices with onions, which also looked great.

For a main course, I went for a Kerala lamb curry called Adu Cheera Mappas with a Paratha, a type of flaky, flat bread formed from lots of thin layers. I skipped the obvious choice of a dosa, of which there are four t to chose from, all very reasonably priced with very generous serving sizes. The curry was crazy tasty. Despite filling up on seafood for starters, I managed to finish the lot. The Paratha was just fantastic. I’d been hunting for a bread like this for ages after eating something similar in Malaysia years ago called Rota Canai, but was yet to find it. I’ll be looking for Paratha at every Indian restaurant from now on!

All in all, I really enjoyed Theravadu. I wouldn’t compare it to Bundobust as many others do – they are trying to achieve different things. Don’t expect to pick up the latest Mikkeller saison, but do expect delicious food at VERY good prices, speedy service and a lively atmosphere. Like me, you might be too full to stay out for drinks till late afterwards!

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