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