Bombay badboy hits up Headers: Khana Bombay Café review

If there’s one thing Leeds has never been short of, it’s top-notch curry houses. There’s plenty of places to get a good old ruby here and the likes of Bundobust and Tharavadu have stepped up to the game recently with a fresh twist on a much loved cuisine, leaving the big chains for dust.

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Now, it’s the turn of Headingley to play host to the latest forward-thinking Indian restaurant in the shape of Khana Bombay Café, which resides next to Arc (formerly Ask Italian).

Focusing on tapas style small plates and cocktails, the project is the latest venture from Adam Karim, a restauranteur who has enjoyed success with Don Giovanni and Rosso in Manchester.

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I was lucky enough to be invited along with a friend to the press launch night by Pink Gorilla to find out if the new concept lived up to the hype and I have to say it exceeded my expectations on every level.

The first thing that surprised me was the size of the venue and the quality of the interior.

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The blurb I read prior to my visit had mentioned the inspiration had come from Bombay street food and so I was expecting a shabby chic, café type vibe – how wrong could I be.

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This is one seriously handsome looking restaurant, spread over two floors with lots of light and quality furnishings, and a stunning tiled bar. Anyhow, I’ll stop being shallow now – let’s focus on the food and drink instead.

Photo: www.facebook.com/justingardnerphotography

We kicked things off with a Pomegranate Mojito (7.50), which despite its incredibly poncey name, was really good and a perfect pallet cleanser prior to our food. On recommendation of the waitress, we ordered a mixture of items from the grill (ranging between £4-10) as starters along with some sides.

Photo: www.facebook.com/justingardnerphotography

The Chicken Wings (£6 for five) were tasty without being overly spicy, whilst the King Prawns (£8) were large and succulent; both cooked over charcoal and served with yoghurt dip and salad. The winner here was by far were the Lamb Chops (£6.50), which were so soft and full of flavour.

Photo: www.facebook.com/justingardnerphotography

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Despite my love of spicy food, it didn’t matter to me that these appetisers were mild as they packed enough new and interesting flavours for me not to care. However, for my curry I wanted heat, so asked for my Chicken Desi Karahi (£6.50) to be cooked Bombay Bad Boy style, whilst my mate Chris went for the Lamb Biryani (£8.50).

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Our mains arrived and true to their word, my curry was packing some serious punch! This wasn’t detrimental to the overall flavour of the curry however, and the dish went down a storm with my Peshwari Naan (£2.90) and rice.

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Lamb isn’t something I usually order, but much like the starter, the Lamb Biryani was on point and apparently comes from a family recipe dating back to 1942. I actually enjoyed this dish over my own choice, and would happily return for this again.

Final verdict

Khana Bombay Café is a worthy and welcome addition to Headingley, which is now home to some of Leeds best eateries. You can expect new flavours, awesome drinks, friendly service and an overall experience that’s anything but generic. The many chain restaurants of Leeds which are becoming somewhat lazy should take some notes from this joint for sure.

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