Restaurant review: Akbar's, Eastgate, Leeds

Akbar's is one of those places many people in Leeds seem to love, but which I'd never had the chance to visit.

First impressions are great, as a smiling member of staff greets us immediately at the door and, despite the restaurant apparently doing a roaring trade on a cold Wednesday night, we’re seated straight away without a reservation.

The two-seater table is a good one, near the window and fairly private, the only problem being the view of the restaurant obscured slightly by the door which is set back a little.

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The décor is of the sort you see in many Indian restaurants, only a little smarter. Plenty of seats are packed in, but not so close that you’re listening to people chat too much.

The excellent service offered throughout our meal (aside from a dip in attention amid a second wave of custom later) is continued when our brilliant waiter, Ahmed, introduces himself by name.

Naturally we got a popadom each and a pickle tray (£3 for all), which was left to use for dipping during the rest of our meal (a very welcome, customer-first approach). For my starter, I had fish pakoras – four large cutlets covered in a spicy batter and deep friend, with salad (£4.45). The portion is enough for a main, the batter not too heavy and the white fish delicate – a good choice.

My friend starts with the mushroom and potato poori – crispy deep friend bread cooked with onions, tomatoes and garlic (£3.95). The bread was soft and fluffy, and the large amount of veg was really flavourful.

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We both also agreed that contrary to many of the Indian restaurants we’ve experienced, the salad was beyond expectations – dressed well and varied.

Dishes were also brought out by the chefs, adding a personal touch.

For my main, I go for a dish so unadventurous it’s almost a bold choice – chicken tikka masala (£9.45) – as I’m intrigued by its placement on the chef’s specials list. Its deep redness is really appealing, and it tastes nice and fresh, if not spectacular.

My friend has a vegetable biryani ( £8.95), a rice-based dish which was said to be lovely, though the accompanying chickpea sauce a little bland.

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For sides, we got one of the gigantic family naan breads even pairs seem to order (£4.50), and I go for a pilau rice too (£2.65). The structural integrity of this beautiful, immense naan – placed on a stand for ease of use – seemed to be suffering by the end so it’s just as well we were so full we had to take it away with us.

All this for £46.45 with two soft drinks each and I can see why this restaurant is so well-liked, so my first visit is not likely to be my last.



Address: 15 Eastgate, Leeds LS2 7LY

Rating ****