Review: Khana Bombay Cafe, Headingley

Khana Bombay Cafe in Headingley. Pics: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Khana Bombay Cafe in Headingley. Pics: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
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Curry and cocktails might not be an obvious mix, but it’s one that seems to be slowly taking the city by storm.

Take Bundobust, for example. The popular city centre spot has become a firm favourite for its delicious Indian street food and top quality cocktails – as well as its impressive craft beer offering.

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Now a new venue in north Leeds is following in its footsteps, hoping that a similar set up will also help provide a winning formula.

Khana Bombay Café opened its doors in Headingley back in February.

Its food has proved quite a hit with punters already, and on this particular visit we were keen to put the drinks menu to the test.

There is a good range of craft beers, wine and cocktails available – and we head straight for the cocktails.

They are priced at around £7 each, and it’s the mango daiquiri that immediately catches my eye.

With ingredients including white rum, homemade mango puree and lime juice, it’s sweet and dangerously easy to drink.

The icing sugar rim is different but works well, and the wedge of lime adds an extra tang.

My companion can’t resist trying it and loves it so much that she almost finishes off the entire drink herself.

On her side of the table, she’s got her own drink – an ‘East Indian Cocktail Number Three’.

Made with gin, peach iced tea, lemon juice, apricot jam and sage leaves, it’s refreshing and light.

As we sit back with our cocktails, we take some time to admire the venue.

Khana takes over an old cinema site and has kept some of the historic features but has added a modern and airy feel, with Bombay-inspired flourishes.

There is a main dining area that looks onto the open kitchen, with a more relaxed waiting area or drinks area in the corner – where we are sat on a comfy brown leather sofa.

As we discuss the decor, we order two more cocktails – a ‘Kochi Lady’ with gin, jamun juice, sugar syrup and egg white – and a ‘Gin Shikanji’ with gin, shikanji mix, lemon and soda.

Shikanji mix can include ginger, salt, saffron and cumin – so it was a bit of a gamble.

Sadly it proved to be too much of an acquired taste for me, and the salt was overpowering.

However my companion’s drink was another hit, and we agree that three out of four cocktails wasn’t a bad success rate.

Food offering aside, it seems Khana Bombay Café can hold its own as a go-to cocktail spot.

With so much competition for drinking dens in the student suburb, it’s important to offer something different.

And this new kid on the block is certainly spicing things up.

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Pub review: Original Oak, Headingley, Leeds