Manjit's Kitchen Kirkstall Road review - Veg curry perfection at Leeds success story
Manjit's Kitchen is a real Leeds success story.
Launched as a home delivery business in 2010 by Leeds local Manjit Kaur and her husband Michael Jameson, their brand of vegetarian Punjabi street food has, with a lot of hard work, became a hit.
Starting out on a cart at food festivals, they opened a small cafe and bar in the new food hall area at Leeds Kirkgate Market in 2016 and last year won best Street Food/Takeaway at the BBC’s Food and Farming Awards.
The pair have had their eye on a new restaurant building that can open later than the market in Leeds for a while - and they've finally achieved it, with a big helping hand from an online crowdfunding campaign.
With the rain lashing down outside, the welcome at Manjit's Kitchen couldn't be more warm and inviting. Having only just opened, the restaurant is serving from Thursday to Sunday evenings at the moment, taking walk-ins only - and on a Friday evening, most of the 25 or so spaces are full. Michael rushes over to us and gives a choice of one of the few tables remaining.
The decor is simple but charming - bathed in warm yellows and candlelight, it feels like stepping into someone's dining room (pictures of Manjit's grandma and granddad adorn the wall). There's a small bar area in front of the kitchen, which Manjit has described - in her humble and humorous way - as a 'bar counter like a retirement BnB in Worthing'. Touches like these only add to the charm, and you get the sense Manjit and Michael have put their heart and soul into the place.
What’s the menu like?
The menu is small but perfect, offering snacks, a selection of small plates, a couple of slightly larger dishes and Manjit's trademark Thali (plates full rice, roti and either two or three curries).
There's a well considered drinks menu too, with a selection of local beers and IPAs that go well with curry, and of course the obligatory Cobra lager.
Onto the food
We order all four of the starters, eager not to miss anything. The potato and pea rolls are crisp and fluffy and a nice big plate of bhajis were moreish with a drizzle of raita. The beetroot and paneer tikki are a highlight - sweet, earthy and melt in the mouth. The bowl of masala corn chaat is lovely and fresh.
The Thali is exceptional. I go for all three curries. My dining partner can't get enough of the butternut squash kofta - 'super silky smooth'. The dhal has a deep warm flavour, the potato and chickpea curry is a delight and there's a zingy side salad to boot. We're stuffed with wonderful food, but not in the same way you feel if you've had an oily curry from any number of other Indian restaurants. It's tasty, wholesome and feels healthy - you can't ask for more.
Value for money?
For all that food, plus four bottles of beer, it came to just under £45. Well worth it.
Address: 333 Kirkstall Road, LS4 2HD
Telephone: 07941 183132
Opening hours: Thursday - Friday currently, check the Twitter account for latest hours.
Twitter / Facebook: @manjitskitchen