From desk until dawn: Trying Tharavadu's Michelin-recommended curries and new house beer at event for Leeds foodies
We were blessed with a glorious Bank Holiday weekend in Leeds, the sun was shining and people packed out the city's bars and restaurants.
It was wonderful to see the city centre so full of life and the turn in weather must be a welcome relief for the hospitality industry.
I got the chance to visit Tharavadu on Bank Holiday Monday as the restaurant launched its exclusive tap beer with Kirkstall Brewery.
It was my first time visiting the Keralan restaurant and I had high hopes - Tharavadu is the only Indian restaurant in Leeds which is recommended in Michelin's Restaurant Guide.
And I was even one of the first people to taste the new Somarasam house beer, a 4% Pilsner, during an event for Leeds foodies.
Kirkstall Brewery's CEO, John Kelly, is a regular at the restaurant - he visits every couple of weeks and always orders the fish curry and paratha, a layered Indian bread.
The collaboration made sense, is there anything more adored by British diners than a pint and a curry?
And Somarasam, which means the 'drink of gods', was the perfect accompaniment to the flavour-packed South Indian cuisine.
It was crisp and refreshing and didn't leave me feeling bloated. If anything, it wetted my appetite for the food - and there was lots of it.
Our table was quickly filled with starters including a huge masala dosa, packed with potato and flavoured with punchy Keralan spices.
The highlight of my meal was the pappada vada, a traditional South Indian street food dish - deep fried 'donut-style' pappads dipped into warming sambar, a lentil-based curry.
I ordered an aubergine curry for my main with a Keralan paratha, inspired by John's order. It was light and fluffy with lots of layers and I didn't hold back, scooping up my curry until my bowl was clean.
It was a wonderful treat and I can see why the restaurant is the favoured choice of many, including Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli who frequents the restaurant on his visits to Leeds.
"It’s a nice change from the normal curry, there’s no tikka masala or jalfrezi on the menu," Tharavadu co-owner Sibby Jose told me.
"John knew about the flavours of the food and believed the Pilsner was the best to compliment it - we tried it and it’s a perfect match.”
It's encouraging to see Leeds businesses working together to improve their offering.
Northern Monk Brewery's Little Sümmer Boy’s residency - a collaboration between Asian street food vendors Little Bao Boy and vegan junk food pioneers Döner Summer - is another exciting partnership.
It feels like summer has officially begun in Leeds and I can't wait to get stuck into everything our city has to offer.
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