Monday, 11 June 2012

Oranaise Cafe - Hyde Park Corner Leeds

Another place in Hyde Park which I totally ignored as a student but since leaving uni I have wanted visit it on many occasions but just never got round to it. There really are some hidden gems in Leeds' student land which are often overlooked because of where they are situated.

We decided upon Oranaise after wandering around Leeds city centre trying to find somewhere nice to eat lunch that we hadn't been before, which wasn't too expensive and wasn't a chain restaurant (although I have nothing against chain restaurants I just didn't fancy visiting one this day). After getting a serious hunger grump on we decided to ditch the city centre and hop on a bus to Hyde Park corner.

A Moroccan and Algerian restaurant in Leeds is not something that you see all too often, and I was intrigued.

The decoration is rather unique, with a hand painted ceiling, windows and walls. It's inviting and warm, with gentle Arabic music playing in the background.

We were greeted warmly by an young waitress and told we could sit any where we wanted to. It was a rather quiet bank holiday and there was only one other group dining. Towards the back of the room there was a group of men chatting.

The menu has so much choice, and so much that I have never tried before and wanted to try. It took us a while to decide what to eat. In the meantime we ordered some drinks. I ordered a mango juice and my friend ordered a mint chocolate frappuccino thing, which made an immense racket whilst they were making it.

I don't think it was fresh squeezed mango juice but it was still nice. My friend described his drink as weird but still drank it all so I shall assume he liked it.

As we were only having lunch we didn't order starters. My friend decided upon Chicken Shtitha, which he decided not to try and pronounce for fear of profanity. Next to it on the menu in brackets is (very popular).

My friend seemed really impressed by what turned up on his plate and ate everything but the couscous. It looked a little dry to me and very fine. I was jealous of what my friend had ordered, the different varieties of food which you dipped in to with slices of pita. I love nibbly food so was very envious.

I decided to try and be adventurous and ordered Chicken Brochette, something I have never ordered before. Just in case I didn't like it I chose chips as a side.

Slight mistake on my part I should have ordered rice as the chicken was lovely! The marinade on the chicken shone through the charcoaled chicken, which can sometimes be absent when cooked in this way (just leaving a barbecued taste). The sauce which accompanied was amazing it was sweet but spicy and I couldn't get enough of it. The chips were good too. But too much stodge I couldn't finish them.

The waitress went on her break as we were eating (we saw her leave the restaurant) and from then on service was haphazard, with the men at the back shouting at the youngest to serve the two tables they had.

The bill came to around £22-25 which is average. I'd like to visit on an evening and see how the dipped lighting really brings out the colourful decoration and atmosphere inside.

They also do takeaway if you live in the area.

1 The Crescent
Hyde Park

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