On a small street that curves between Leeds train station and Leeds city centre lives an Indian restaurant that has many reasons to lay claim as Leeds’ best. Lauded in The Good Food Guide and the Michelin Guide, and the favourite Leeds restaurant of India cricket captain Virat Kohli, Tharavadu is unanimously loved by Leeds locals, famous visitors, foodie experts, and all those who cross its path.
And yet, despite its widespread popularity, Tharavadu still feels like a special place for those in the know – when actually it should be the place that everyone thinks of first when going for a curry in Leeds. Here’s why Tharavadu should be your first thought…
The British love of an Indian curry has evolved from 1970s adaptations for the Western palate to 2020s appreciation of authentic regional cuisine. Tharavadu led the latest evolution in Leeds when they opened in 2014; as the first Keralan restaurant in Yorkshire, this was curry like we already enjoyed, and then better.
Kerala is a state in the south of India, on the tropical Malabar Coast. Its location means that fish and seafood are prominent in their cuisine, and the beautiful spicing and flavours are distinctive to the region. Meat is included in specific dishes where beneficial, and there are many delicious vegetarian and vegan creations from here too; all of which is reflected on the menu at Tharavadu.
You can start with the sought-after Chilli Paneer or in-demand Mutta Roast – both triumphant versions of traditional dishes made from cheese and egg respectively- or indeed whichever delight takes your fancy from a menu which ranges from reviving soups to awakening dosas.
For the main attraction, the most ordered dish at Tharavadu is Meen Koottan, and with good reason; this ‘fish curry to order’ is an authentic Keralan fisherman’s speciality, packed with local spices and expertly balanced. And there’s plenty more to enjoy here too, from the chef’s chicken special Pedappan Kozhi with its magical gravy, to Vegetarian Sadya Thali, a banquet of seven choice curries, before climaxing on the traditional Kerala dessert Semiya Payasam.
As wonderfully indulgent as the evening offerings are at Tharavadu, it is an equally excellent daytime treat, helped along by their great value Express Lunch. This small feast of three curries, a side dish, rice, dosa and chutneys makes for the perfect lunchtime visit, unlike any other in the city. Better yet, you can’t find a deal as good as this in Yorkshire. It’s truly one of a kind.
Whether you’re back in the office and wanting a tasty break, looking to refuel on a shopping trip, searching for a social afternoon meet and eat, or simply satisfying yourself with some of the best spiced and priced food in the city, this deal is sure to appeal. There are vegetarian, chicken and lamb options, and whichever you go for, the quick and friendly service and generous portions will leave you fully content and with change from a tenner.
Daytime or night, Tharavadu – which is a Keralan system of joint family practices that keep the values of tradition – is living up to its name. Bringing the people of Leeds together to enjoy their authentic joys in a welcoming setting. That’s why, when going for a curry in Leeds, Tharavadu should be your first thought.