Thursday, December 20, 2007

Aagrah and Pizza Express

Quite a mix, I'll admit ...

The lunching club at work has been in overdrive mode recently and we've had two jaunts in two weeks!

Wed 12 Dec 2007

We were excited to discover that the Leeds city centre Aagrah was to be open for lunch in the run up to Christmas. We were less excited to discover that we had a choice between a fixed price lunch menu or a buffet. A buffet that cost £15 a head no less! I was gutted - I had planned to have dal piaz with a paratha and a beer. And I hate buffets.

We ended up spending £20 a head which is a bit steep for having to get up and serve yourself. On the up side, this was definitely one of the better quality buffets around although the vegetarian selection was somewhat slim. For starters, we had chicken tikka, fish tikka and lamb cutlets. Although all of these dishes had suffered a little from sitting around, they were all very tasty - especially the lamb. Main courses offered a selection of three curries, two vegetarian sides (including dahl - hooray), rice and naan, as well as a big bowl of raita. Unsurprisingly, this all fared a lot better than the starters, and I enjoyed everything I tried.

However, £15 is still too much money. While I enjoy trying things I'd never order a la carte, I'd rather not be jumping up and down to sort out food, and I'd rather not leave feeling a little ripped off (I'm not one of these people who gets her money's worth at a buffet!).

It also took us quite a while to get our bill (not great when you're on a lunch break), and while we were paying, the front of house seemed to think it fit to make phone calls while sorting out our cards, which spoiled the whole experience.

Food: surprisingly good for a buffet
Service: a little too slow, finishing up plain rude
Spend per head: £20
Value for money: just a touch too expensive

Wed 19 Dec 2007

A very different experience at Pizza Express. We were expecting the restaurant to be packed with pre-Christmas revellers, but it was surprisingly calm and there was no problem finding a table. Service was efficient and we started with a selection of dough balls and garlic breads before moving on to our pizzas. A touch of consternation as one pizza came out rather larger than the rest (it turns out that the Romana pizzas have the same amount of dough but it's rolled out more thinly ... we couldn't work out how that affected the volume of topping), but the pizzas all went down well - including two Christmas specials (Buon Natale - complete with turkey and stuffing, and Quattro Formaggio with sage and leek).

We munched our way through the pizzas (and drank our way through some beers) before declining desserts and coffee and heading back to the office. All efficient, quick, tasty and filling - just what you want in a quick, working lunch. And all for £15 a head.

Food: good, standard Pizza Express pizzas
Service: efficient and friendly
Spend per head: £15
Value for money: not bad, although you could argue that the pizzas are a little on the pricey side (average around £8)

1. Aagrah, St. Peters Sq, Leeds, LS9 8AH, phone: 0113 245 5667
2. Pizza Express, Corn Exchange, White Cloth Hall, Leeds, LS2 7DA, phone: 0113 246 5207
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Blogger Ros said...

Buffets. I generally hate buffets too, although this one sounded better than normal. Sri Lankan hotels generally enforce them on you, which generally drives me mad when I'm there.

10:37 pm  
Blogger Alex said...

While I probably don't eat buffet enough to say it was better than usual, I'll say it anyway!

Where you really noticed a difference was with the starters: the lamb chops, while delicious, were a little dry and tough, as was the chicken. Surprisingly, I'd hazard saying it was the fish tikka which held up best. I'd still prefer to eat from the menu though!

8:39 pm  

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