Tharavadu review: Here's what I thought of the Leeds restaurant promising authentic south Indian food

Tharavadu promises authentic Keralan cuisine, with all its chefs born and raised in the region.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

My dad makes the finest north Indian food in the world (not that I’m biased), but he loves the rich flavours and mouth-watering seafood of the south.

It’s rare to find authentic Indian restaurants where he lives, so there were high hopes pinned on our evening when we visited.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Unassuming from the street, stepping into Tharavadu is like being transported to Kerala - there’s beautiful artwork on the walls, feature lanterns hanging from the ceilings and a mis-match of ceramic tiles and patterns.

Inside Tharavadu (Photo: Tony Johnson)Inside Tharavadu (Photo: Tony Johnson)
Inside Tharavadu (Photo: Tony Johnson)

We were warmly greeted with big smiles and shown to our table.

It was full to the brim, but the staff were so attentive and utterly lovely throughout our dinner, going the extra mile.

New cutlery was brought round on a metal platter, our server spotted that we needed new napkins and brought them over, without us asking, and nothing was too much trouble.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Picking our dinner was not easy as there’s so much choice - the majority of the menu is gluten free, there’s plenty for vegetarians and few vegan dishes.

Tharavadu's head chefs, from left to right, Ajith Kumar, Rajesh Nair and Abdul Khadar (Photo: Simon Hulme)Tharavadu's head chefs, from left to right, Ajith Kumar, Rajesh Nair and Abdul Khadar (Photo: Simon Hulme)
Tharavadu's head chefs, from left to right, Ajith Kumar, Rajesh Nair and Abdul Khadar (Photo: Simon Hulme)

We ordered a masala dosa and the pre-meal snacks to start: batter-fried pappodums, rice snacks and banana chips.

They were dangerously moreish, especially when dunked into three delicious pickles.

The dosa was wafer-thin and perfectly crisp, filled with buttery soft potatoes and plenty of veg - rich in flavour but balanced with a nice squeeze of lemon.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

For our main, we shared the meen kootan fish curry, the restaurant’s most-ordered dish.

The fish melted on your tongue and the sauce was bursting with freshly-ground spices and tamarind.

Read More
The Ivy Asia Leeds: What to expect as new Vicar Lane restaurant opening creates ...

We had two parathas to share, which were so soft with flaky layers, and we used them to mop up the last of the fish sauce.

We shared a portion of plain rice, cooked to perfection, and a side of okra - which can be hard to get right, but it was soft and served in a tangy tomato sauce which had a real kick.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

There was so much depth and variety of flavour across our spread and, according to my dad, “as authentic as it gets”.

With starters and vegetarian dishes around £7-10, and mains from £13-19, it is a treat - but we were treated like royalty.


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

Telephone: 0113 244 0500

Opening hours: Mon-Thurs, noon-1.30pm, 5pm-9.30pm; Fri-Sat, noon-1.30pm, 5pm-10pm; Sun, closed.


Food: 10/10

Value: 8/10

Atmosphere: 9/10

Service: 10/10

Related topics: