Tharavadu Leeds: delicate Keralan flavours and impeccable service in cosy Indian restaurant
Smack-bang in the city centre and a stone’s throw from the station, this is a great spot for hungry travellers.
After a month of huddling around outdoor heaters and eating beneath an umbrella in April, walking through the doors of Tharavadu into a warm, aromatic atmosphere was a welcome novelty.
Just a stone’s throw from the station, this Keralan restaurant has built up a stellar reputation over the years, and our first impressions were good: in spite of the transparent Covid screens placed strategically between tables, the open-plan interior still felt laid-back, cosy and traditional.
The service on arrival was impeccable, with our party shown to the table immediately by welcoming staff and poppadoms and beers arriving at our table within minutes of ordering.
As we nibbled and sipped, the menu offered a pleasing array of choice to suit all tastes and dietary requirements: fish curries, dosas, vegetarian options, and meat dishes. Particularly pleasing was the mix of plates you might expect to find in an Indian restaurant alongside enticing traditional Keralan dishes and sides.
We started with the dahai battery poori, a cold dish of deep-fried bread stuffed with potatoes and served with yoghurt, and the mixed veg bonda, a battered mix of beans and veg. The former dish was the favourite of the two, offering a delicate and light precursor to the main meal, with the sweetness of the pomegranate seeds in particular complementing the flavour of the potatoes. The mixed veg bonda was tasty, though didn’t stand out as especially flavourful.
For our main dishes, we ordered the mutter paneer - paneer and peas in a creamy tomato sauce - and the vazhuthananga curry: aubergines cooked in spices with a cashew nut sauce. Alongside this we ordered rice and a few Kerala parathas.
The parathas were a stand-out: delicately layered with a quality almost like pastry, they were delicious and perfect for dipping.
The mutter paneer was generous in size, and creamy without being cloying, with the gentle spices cutting through. The aubergine curry, meanwhile, was more subtle, a little sweet and delicate in flavour, and while delicious perhaps warranted an extra kick spice-wise. Overall, both dishes were certainly delicious, though more delicate in flavour than you would be used to in other Indian restaurants.
All food arrived promptly, and the service went above and beyond - with the lovely touch of staff cleaning the table between courses and replacing the cutlery. Prices were around what you might expect for an Indian restaurant, with generously-sized main dishes ranging between £9 - £18.
Overall, the food was satisfying, and the service and atmosphere excellent. This would be a great spot for a post-lockdown get-together with friends or family which would please all palettes and tastes.
Address: 7-8 Mill Hill, Leeds LS1 5DQ
Telephone: 0113 244 0500
Opening hours: Mon-Sat, 12-1:30pm; 5-9:30pm