Thursday, April 19, 2007


Wed 18 April 2007

The Yorkshire Evening Post recently ran a promotion from which readers could have a free, 2 month trial Hi-Life Card. The card entitles you to 2 for 1 meals at various participating restaurants. Given that the card combines the ideas of 'food' and 'free' I had to have one and last night we took it out for its first foray in Leeds.

Andy chose the new(ish) Aagrah in the BBC building on St Peter's Square and, after a preparatory half pint in the Wardrobe, we headed over, to be greeted by a very formally dressed doorman. I was a bit worried we might be a bit casual, but while the restaurant is very slickly decorated, and the staff are beautifully dressed, the customer base is quite diverse, and I imagine it would be hard not to have a good time.

We started off with a couple of large Cobra beers, pappadums and chutnies (chilli, onion, mint and mango - all very good, but especially the mint and the chilli) and spent quite a while inspecting the very lengthy menu. We opted not to have starters, and headed straight into the mains: lamb nihari for me, and shahi lamb tandoori for Andy. We also ordered a paratha, a pilau rice and a side of dal piaz. For a moment it looked like we'd order a spinach based side dish too but common sense prevailed and we ended up with just the right amount of food.

My lamb nihari was delicious. The gravy was thick and smoky and there were big, juicy pieces of ginger which were very refreshing. The paratha was fantastic (and, dare I say it, at least as good, if not better, than those at Shabab!) but the REAL star of the show was the dal piaz. I love dal. I really, really love dal, and I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't a dal main course dish on the menu. But this more than made up for it. The dal is made from chana dal (yellow split lentils) and has a lovely chunky consistency. It's good and spicy, with plenty of onion and really delicious! Next time I'll be ordering a main course sized version!

Andy's lamb came on a sizzler plate with sauce on the side and was equally as tasty, with big chunks of peppers, and plenty of sauce to be soaked up by the rice.

The bill came to around £34 (three large beers, 2 main courses, 1 side, 1 rice, 1 bread, pappadums and chutnies), and our Hi-Life discount knocked this down to about £27. It's worth noting that Aagrah does also offer an early bird deal: if you order by 7pm and order 2 starters and 2 mains you will get the cheapest main free. However, even at full price, we both thought this was a fantastic meal. On a week night it was great because it was also very efficient, but this might be less than ideal on a weekend or for a less functional meal. The menu has plenty on it which is familiar, but also a lot of interesting and less common dishes. All put together, this means that Aagrah gets a very big thumbs up!

1. Aagrah, St Peter's Square, Quarry Hill, Leeds, LS9 8AH, phone: 0113 245 5667
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Blogger The Yorkshire Foodie said...

Can also thoroughly recommend the Aagrah at Skipton - a regular favourite!

11:06 am  
Blogger Alex said...

I also tried to go to the Aagrah in Shipley once. Be warned - if you want to go on a Saturday night, that particular branch is heaving!

12:17 pm  

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