Tharavadu Leeds review: Why I was blown away by this award-winning Indian restaurant in the city centre

It’s not exactly a secret how good Leeds city centre restaurant Tharavadu is.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

The team behind it are no strangers to an award or five, while famous faces have flocked to sample the authentic Keralan cuisine. They even scooped ‘Best Indian Restaurant’ at our Oliver Awards for three years running.

I had only visited once, in early 2019 before the world descended into the chaos of Covid-19. My first Tharavadu experience could not have been more intoxicating but various circumstances had denied me the opportunity for a return visit.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Therefore, when I went to Tharavadu for my second visit, I was going in with a slightly different mentality. Instead of wondering whether it was going to be any good, it was a question of whether it had maintained its standards.

Tharavadu is located on Mill Hill in Leeds. Image: Tony JohnsonTharavadu is located on Mill Hill in Leeds. Image: Tony Johnson
Tharavadu is located on Mill Hill in Leeds. Image: Tony Johnson

Was it going to be sensational again? Had I exaggerated its beauty in my mind as I wished my horrendous cooking remotely resembled it?

I was so keen for it to live up to what I could remember that I was almost nervous. There was no need to be, as it was even better than I remember it being five years ago.

It all came flooding back - the enticing aroma, the friendly welcome and the intimate-yet-spacious setting.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

We kicked off our feast with a sharer platter of pappadavada, pakkavada, savoury kaya varuthathu (banana chips) and poppadoms. They paired perfectly with the assortment of chutneys that were subtly spicy and almost frustratingly moreish.

Having done our best not to fill up on the pre-meal snacks, it was time for the main event. I opted for the adu cheera mappas, a lamb saag dish popular at Easter.

The lamb cubes were beyond delectable, soft and succulent to the extent that they just fall apart in your mouth. The sauce was fiery yet flavoursome and lovely to mop up with a chapati.

I also tried the Kerala paratha, a pancake-like dough that was satisfyingly crispy on the outside and deliciously fluffy on the inside.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

My partner opted for the Kerala kozhi curry, a chicken dish synonymous with the Indian state of Kerala. Like the lamb, the chicken was beautifully tender. It absorbed the coconut-infused sauce and also paired perfectly with the Kerala paratha.

There is also an impressive range of drinks on offer and I went for the tried and tested Cobra, a lager that always goes down a treat with Indian food. Tharavadu teams up with Kirkstall Brewery for its drink offerings and my partner went for their fruity pale ale Judicious.

The Kerala kozhi curry came at a price of £15.95, while the adu cheera mappas set me back £18.95. You could certainly get a cheaper meal elsewhere in the city centre but I am not sure you could get a better one.

More importantly, you get what you pay for. The portion sizes are generous and the food itself is absolutely exquisite. I am aware I am hardly shedding light on a hidden gem but if you have not visited Tharavadu for a while, you can rest assured it is still superb.


Address: 7-8 Mill Hill, Leeds LS1 5DQ

Telephone: 0113 244 0500

Opening hours:

Sunday: 12–8 pm

Monday: 12–1:30pm, 5–9:30pm

Tuesday: 12–1:30pm, 5–9:30pm

Wednesday: 12–1:30pm, 5–9:30pm

Thursday: 12–1:30pm, 5–9:30pm

Friday: 12–1:30pm, 5–9:30pm

Saturday: 12–9:30pm


Food: 10/10

Value: 8/10

Atmosphere: 9/10

Service: 9/10

Related topics: