Kerala Restaurant review: I went to one of Leeds' best rated South Indian restaurants and this is what I thought
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With a less than glamorous sign pinned to the top of a narrow doorway, it would be easy to miss this restaurant if it weren't for the rave reviews left online.
Receiving four or five star ratings across the board, me and my partner marked this place as our next stop for a hearty curry, given that we must have strolled past it on a weekly basis for years.
Inside, rows of dark wooden tables stretched out across a surprisingly large dining hall, a slightly rustic look to the restaurant immediately making us giddy with excitement.
We browsed the menu and realised the selection on offer was considerably smaller than what we'd seen on the Kerala website earlier that day, and breathed a sigh of relief.
Often overwhelmed with choice, the select few curries, thalis and starters listed gave us just enough room to fulfil any cravings, but not enough to get that 'deer in the headlights' moment when deciding.
After much deliberation I opted for a fish thali; a plate combining their signature fish curry with a range of other sides and sundries on the menu.
We sat and waited for our food to arrive, hungrily watching the door open and close and trays of aromatic starters and mains were carried out to tables.
Plates began arriving at our table in as little as 20 minutes, and we immediately tucked into what we already knew would be a delicious feast.
The fish flaked apart beautifully in the Keralan speciality curry, the tomato sauce tart and balanced with spice, but it was the creamy parippu curry that stole my heart.
The traditional Sri Lankan dish combines soft red lentils with saffron, cumin and turmeric to create a mouthwateringly tasty dhal, eaten best when scooped up in a kal-appam pancake.
Equally as delicious was the sambar stew and rice, another lentil-based broth packed with tamarind and masala.
As we filled our bellies with some of the best South Indian food we'd ever eaten, and finished things off with a creamy and sweet payasam, we reflected on the overwhelmingly positive reviews we'd seen of Kerala.
It's no wonder this restaurant ranks so highly with food as good as this.
Address: 2 Eastgate, Leeds LS2 7JL
Telephone: 0113 234 0033
Opening hours: Mon: Closed, Tues - Sat: 12.30pm-11pm, Sun: 12.30pm-10pm