Monday, 6 February 2012

Aagrah - Garforth, Leeds

The Aagrah in Garforth has been there as far back as I can remember, I moved to Garforth when I was 6 which was 19 years ago and I remember it being there then. One of the main reasons I can remember it being there is because of the Aagrah Elephant. The Aagrah Elephant was a magnificent thing (in the eyes of a 6/7year old) it was about 10 foot tall (I think) and beautifully decorated. What made the elephant even more special is that it used to travel from Aagrah restaurant to Aagrah restaurant, so I used to eagerly look out of the car window as we drove past to see if the elephant was there. Unfortunately the Aagrah elephant no longer visits Garforth, I have heard rumours that the elephant was broken in transit? I have also heard that it now sits permanently outside another establishment? If you know please comment at the end of this post!

The Aagrah is about 5 minutes in the car from my house and I'm surprised I haven't been more. This time we were going for my Birthday Meal Number 1. We went on my actual birthday due to the short distance plus during in January they were running a 25% off your total bill promotion. Keep your eye out for this next year as it was on the previous January too.

We pre-booked the table and had no hassle in doing so with there only being two of us. When we entered there was no one about to greet so we were unsure as to who we were supposed to give our reservation to... the bar man saw us dawdling in the door way and asked us if we wanted a drink, I was just about to pick up a drinks menu when another man appeared from the main restaurant and we grabbed him to let him know we had booked a table. It was a bit awkward as the guy behind the bar wanted to take our orders and someone else was wanting to take our reservation. It turns out in the end we didn't have to give our drinks order to the bar man as we didn't need to wait for our table. In my opinion they should of had someone at the door to greet and take reservations and then show them to the bar if they were required to wait.

Even though it was a Tuesday night it was relatively busy, there were a few spare tables but the dining area is a substantial size and separated in to three or four different areas. We were seated in the corner which was nice and not on a tiny table as so often happens when there are just two of you dining.

The man who showed us to our table was very pleasant and also very dashing, dressed smartly in a suit. My dining partner for the night ordered a non-alcoholic cocktail and I ordered a glass of Pinot Grigio, alongside these we were given some poppadoms (40p each) and some dips. The mango chutney is possibly one of the best I have tasted, it's sweet but also has a little kick. The mint was far spicier then any I have ever tasted and one of them was like pure chili sauce.

For starters we decided to order three plates to share between us. These were:

Chicken Pakora - nice and crispy batter but could have done with some extra chicken in there.

Chicken Tikka - I really enjoyed these, the spices ginger, coriander, cumin, turmeric, with the lime juice really clung to the chicken and the charcoaled texture combines to make a perfect Indian starter.

Onion rings... sorry onion bhaji - we were a little disappointed to only have two, that looked and tasted quite like onion rings and this dish costs £2.50...

DP ordered Shahi Murgh Tandoori for their main, chicken marinated in yogurt and cooked on charcoal, then it is cooked in bay leaf juices with tomatoes, onions, green chillies, coriander, garlic and peppers. It appears at your table still sizzling rather loudly and it's quite impressive. I tried a bit and it was really tasty the flavours really stand out and don't blend in to one 'Indian tasting' spice, which I have found in a few Indian restaurants... all the dishes taste the same just varying in spice? Here this is not the case.

They also ordered a garlic nan to accompany it, I nicked quite a bit of this too. It was really crispy and light in places but doughy in the middle. I liked it but it could have done with a bit more garlic.

For my main I decided I wanted to try something I had never tried before. I chose the Chicken Mangalore, this is diced chicken cooked with tomatoes, onions, garlic, ginger, whole red chillies, tamarind, coconut, curry leaves and roasted spices. I could have eaten another half a portion of this I was quite disappointed with the size, I guess I'm too used to Akbars huge portion sizes. The dish was really palatable; the coconut milk had blended in well with the spices and had not separated. The dish is given two chillies on the menu and the last time I had something with two chillies displayed next to it at this particular Aagrah  I found it to be very hot, I think it was a bhuna, however this time I found it just to have a little kick, I could have handled some more spice.

To accompany my curry I ordered pilau rice. As far as pilau rice goes.. it was OK.

I didn't finish my rice... due to lack of curry, and DP didn't finish their main so we got it boxed up to take away (they had it for lunch the next day). You can order anything off of the main menu for takeaway so we knew it wouldn't be a problem for them to box it up. If your thinking about ordering takeaway from here however you will have to make your way to the restaurant and pick it up yourself as they don't deliver.

The room is quite spacious and the tables are nicely space apart so you don't feel like you are so close your intruding on others meals. The service was a bit hap hazard depending on who it was, most of them were polite but we never built up a rapport with any of them as they didn't hang around or speak very much.

The meal was a bargain as it was 25% off and it came to under £25 for the whole meal.

Photo quality isn't great despite using my camera and not my phone due to the dim lighting... Sorry!

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