Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Sun 24 Sept 2006

Normally I am not a huge fan of chain anythings ... restaurants, bars, pubs ... some kind of nasty, mass produced, homogenous, money sucking entities ... but I do also appreciate that chains need not be like that. Sometimes they can be individual and take pride in their product. Just sometimes.

So, what would a Malaysian chain restaurant be like? Incongruous, I grant you. But that concept is nowhere near as quirky as you get ... Georgetown Leeds lives in the lovely Dyson clock building which itself lives down the less glamorous end of Briggate.

The intent of the building has been absolutely preserved and the Georgetown restaurant is, in a word, beautiful. They've gone for a colonial Malaysian feel and they've hit it, bang on. The room is opulent and the service is formal and reserved. The tables are all properly set, with proper linen (yes, that would be a cloth napkin!). You can probably guess I enjoy feeling that a meal is a bit special!

We were at Georgetown for Sunday lunch and the restaurant was quite quiet. The room plays home to a grand piano but with no pianist in residence background music was some quiet recorded classical that was completely unobtrusive.

So we sat back and I enjoyed a glass of cava and Andy a beer and we inspected the lunch menu. While the lunch menu is brief it also manages to be comprehensive: most people would be able to find something to eat. After a bit of negotiation Andy opted for the Selangor vegetarian samosa to start, followed by Roti dan Kambing - lamb and potato curry. I started with Ikan Goreng - a piece of fried fish Malaysian style with a deceptively hot and sweet chilli sauce. For main course I chose Chettinad Koli - pieces of fried chicken with rice and curry sauce.

On the starter front the consensus was that I had won. While the samosa was generously proportioned with good chunks of vegetable, the delicately spiced fish with the chilli sauce (a welcome change from Thai sweet) snuck in front for being different and interesting.

The main courses, in my case accompanied by a glass of garnacha, were a bit more neck and neck. Andy's roti was absolutely delicious - flaky, a tiny bit greasy, and his lamb was absolutely falling apart, but my pieces of chicken, prettily arranged around the plate, were accompanied by a coconutty curry sauce with potatoes and rice.

What really impressed both of us was the care that had gone into presentation. Too often in restaurants, south-east Asian food lends itself to being thrown on a plate with little attention given to how it looks. But at Georgetown the dishes are constructed and you can tell that pride and effort goes into the finished dish.

We didn't try out the puddings, but instead finished our meal with an amaretto and a coffee.

Georgetown Leeds has different dining options to suit all budgets and occasions. There is a £40 a head 4 course "Georgetown Experience" which we're both keen to try but will probably save up for an occasion when we entertain some visitors.

To say we were happy with our lunch is an understatement. And yes, we will be going back!

Georgetown, 24-26 Briggate, Leeds, LS1 6EP, phone 0870 755 7753
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