Restaurant review: Tharavadu, Leeds city centre

Tharavadu, Leeds city centre.
Tharavadu, Leeds city centre.
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IT’S NOT every day that you fancy a curry for lunch.

But when you do get that craving, there’s not a single soggy sandwich or sad-looking sushi that will suffice.

And so it came to be that my friend and I visited Tharavadu.

The restaurant, which opened earlier this year, has some stiff competition on its doorstep with Bundobust next door.

There are some slight differences between the two curry houses though.

Bundobust offers a modern take on vegetarian street food dishes and craft ale, while Tharavadu has more of a family feel and serves up cuisine inspired by the south Indian region of Kerala.

Having been to Bundobust before, we decided to try Tharavadu.

Arriving at midday, we were the first ones in as the waiter unlocked the doors to greet the small queue of lunchtime diners.

We were seated at a large wooden table by the window, which was the perfect people-watching spot.

At lunchtime the restaurant offers an a la carte menu or an ‘express lunch’.

The latter comes as either a veggie option for £4.95 or a non-veg option for £5.95.

We were in a bit of a rush and didn’t have time to peruse the exciting but slightly complicated list of unusual dishes on the a la carte menu, so chose two express lunches.

It didn’t go into much detail of what to expect so we were unsure what would arrive at our table.

But in the end we were pleasantly surprised.

Each order was served on a huge silver platter, with five small silver bowls filled to the brim with different curry recipes.

As well as the three ‘chefs choice’ curries and a side dish, you also get a huge helping of rice in the middle, plus a dosa with chutneys.

Vegan and gluten free options are also available.

I hadn’t ever had a dosa before and was informed it was a staple dish of Kerala, and was a kind of crepe made from rice batter and black lentils.

It was huge, thin and crispy, and arrived rolled up like a scroll, balanced on top of the curry dishes.

It certainly put a smile on our faces and was the perfect light accompaniment to each curry, but was a little on the greasy side.

According to the Tharavadu website, the restaurant’s chefs were born and bred in Kerala, with years of experience in this traditional way of cooking.

You can certainly tell, as every dish was packed with flavour and was great quality.

I was pleased to find my vegetarian lunch was just as tasty as the meat alternative.

There are mild options out of the five dishes, whilst others have a little more kick.

We were overwhelmed with the portion size and couldn’t believe how much we got for our money.

With a glass of wine and a lemonade, the bill came to just £15.

Tharavadu is a hidden gem that’s the perfect place to fill your boots at lunchtime without breaking the bank.

There’s no doubt we’ll be back to sample the dinner menu soon.

Rating: 4/5