AS regular readers will know, Oliver is a dedicated lover of all things Leeds.
You can call me biased if you like, but in my humble opinion, the city’s restaurant scene is up there with anywhere in the country.
Even in this period of belt-tightening austerity, with businesses shutting down left, right and centre, we’re still lucky enough to boast a plethora of top notch eateries of all different types.
But despite this, there’s still a significant number of people who’ll tell you that, if you want a really good curry, you have to go to Bradford.
And frankly, I’d had enough and decided it was time to find out for myself.
To that end, I drafted in a dining companion who would, without doubt, put our neighbouring city’s eastern offerings to the ultimate test.
Some might call her discerning, but it would perhaps be more accurate to describe her as notoriously hard to please and, to be honest, a bit of a whinger.
Needless to say, I made sure I checked the website before setting off to ensure we didn’t get lost, but I’m afraid to say that by the time we arrived at Kebabeesh, in the Greengates area just as you cross into Bradford, my companion’s less charming character traits had never been more evident.
In just over half an hour, I’d listened to protracted diatribes about the weather, the benefits system, work, then the weather again and I was, quite honestly, more than ready to deflect this boundless appetite for criticism into my quest to find the much-vaunted Bradford curry.
The restaurant certainly looks the part, with a welcoming exterior that’s in keeping with the nearby houses, making it look friendly and inviting – a bit like you’re stepping inside a cosy local pub rather than a restaurant.
On entering, we were greeted at the bar area and shown to our seats by the window that stretches the length of the front of the restaurant. No complaints from my companion on that score, and none on the décor either, which was homely, with nothing too flamboyant or showy, just a down-to-earth and warm atmosphere.
The staff were very attentive too and we were quickly given our menus and ordered some drinks while we chose.
There’s a lot to choose from, with traditional dishes sitting alongside a big selection of specials.
To be going on with, we ordered some popadoms, which came with a great selection of spicy dips to enjoy.
For my starter, I chose the lamb boti tikka, marinated pieces of lamb, barbecued and served with a token side salad.
It wasn’t much to look really, just a few chunks of meat on a plate, but the lamb had a rich, spicy flavour and was really good quality meat so needless to say I polished it of rather quickly.
My companion ordered mushroom pakora – mushrooms deep fried in a light, spicy batter and presented in similar simple fashion to my own starter.
She was halfway through the second mushroom before asking, in hushed tones, if the mushrooms were supposed to be raw.
Rolling my eyes, I had a look myself and found, to my shock, that her complaint was well-justified. The mushrooms, while fresh enough, were only very slightly warm in the middle and, while not inedible, didn’t make for the most pleasant of starters and meant the dish went half-eaten.
There are plenty of other options though, and most of the starters are priced at less than £4.
Hoping for better with the main course, I ordered a Punjabi style lahori handi lamb.
Served in a clay pot, the sauce was full of chilli, garlic and ginger which combined fabulously.
The letdown, however, was the quality of the meat which wasn’t nearly to the standard of my starter and proved too fatty to allow me to properly enjoy the dish.
My companion was similarly underwhelmed by her own main course of seafood special.
While the sauce was again rich and tasty, the prawns, were rubbery and the haddock was lacking in any real flavour.
We ordered two naan breads, which were light and fluffy and some potatoes with spinach which were well-prepared but the mains left us both feeling a bit let down.
The main courses were still very reasonably priced though, averaging at around £7-9.
Desserts looked promising though, and rather than a menu, the selections were brought to our table by the waiter on a little caddy.
There was a good-sized selection of cheesecakes and chocolatey options but I went for a banoffee tart, which was presented artfully on the plate.
It wasn’t quite as sweet as I’d hoped for but was a pleasant enough end to the meal.
My companion ordered a mango cheesecake which again was satisfying enough without being anything spectacular.
Along with drinks, the bill came in at just over £53, very reasonable for a three course meal anywhere.
But instead of making our way back to Leeds with a sense of triumph that we’d disproved the superiority of out neighbours, our overriding feeling was one of disappointment.
Kebabeesh has everything in place to be a smashing little out-of-town restaurant- good location, lovely building, very friendly staff and a nice atmosphere.
Unfortunately, one thing my companion and I were both able to agree on was that the venue really does need to up its game in terms of the food on offer if it’s going to tempt people like us from further afield.
Address: 165 New Line, Bradford, BD10 0BN
Telephone: 01274 617188
Opening times: Mon - Sun: 5pm-12am