Excellent food, superb service
Located in the historic town of Wetherby on the banks of the River Wharfe, you will find the Bengal Brasserie. A restaurant worlds away from anything you’d find in your average Indian curry-house, and, with its sleek interior offering a high-end Indian dining experience, it has fast become the place to eat for curry-loving locals since it opened four years back.
My partner and I were greeted by restaurant co-owner Malik Dobir, who, beaming with pride as he pointed out the "Best Curry House Of The Year" award for 2016 (as voted by the readers of the Harrogate Advertiser) prepared us for a “culinary tour of India, no passport required”.
Malik had prepared for us a special tasting menu, featuring dishes from all over India based on our personal spice preference. As we waited for our starters to arrive – the Bengal Special Combo for two (£9.90), consisting of chicken tikka, onion bhaji, lamb chop, prawn chotpati and nehar e kebab – fresh from the kitchen came a basket of golden poppadoms (£0.65) and assorted chutneys (£1.95).
The poppadoms were crisp and light, just light enough to hold the torrents of chutneys, which included mango, roasted tomato, diced onions and a chilli-spiced mint yoghurt, and, after polishing off every last morsel, our combo arrived still sizzling in the pan.
The onion bhaji was crispy with a lovely buttery flavour, and the prawn chotpatis’ were wonderfully light and delicate, with a rich, fishy filling inside. The accompanying chicken tikka was cooked to perfection and the lamb chops amply pink and tender.
Boasting sustenance and style, the menu is a mouth-watering mix of influences from across the Indian subcontinent, and I indulged in ‘just one more’ nehare kebab several times before being presented with a selection of bespoke curries.
The Multani Lamb (£8.95) was a delight; a medium to mild curry which tosses cubes of lamb in a highly spiced sauce with herbs, mint and a touch of cream. The lamb was tender and the flavours were expansive and rich, singling out the freshness of the ingredients and the fact head chef Mohan Miah is able to use spices quite liberally without masking any of the individual flavours.
The spicier Chicken Chilli Mossala (£8.95) counterpart was just as tasty; a fiery curry laced subtly with cardamom, garlic and cinnamon. Our favourite dish of the night, though, was the Saag Aloo (£3.50), a lovely pan-fried patty of spinach, herbs and potatoes. It was an explosion of exquisite tastes in the mouth, spicy, crunchy, fresh and delicious.
Accompanying the mains were a garlic (£2.95) and keema naan (£2.95) both toasted and slathered with butter, followed by a pudding of coconut ice cream (£3.35) served up in half a coconut shell.
While all this sounds like a greedy feast, this is proper sharing food, and blessedly light – miles removed from those belly-busting curries.
Thanks to the Bengal Brasserie, I have yet another excuse, as if I needed one, to come back to Wetherby and indulge in ‘proper’ Indian cuisine. And, if you don’t feel like dining out, Bengal Brasserie even delivers to the surrounding areas.
The Bengal Brasserie, 65 Haddon Road, Leeds, LS4 2JE
Tel: 0113 278 5556 or 0113 278 9656
The Bengal Brasserie, Victoria Court, Victoria Street,Wetherby, LS22 6JA
Tel: 01937 588309 / 586629
The Bengal Brasserie, 21 Goodramgate,York, YO1 2LW
Tel: 01904 613131 or 640066