I recently ate at Khana Bombay Café in Headingley (Leeds)…not just the once, but twice in just a few days. Khana is located in building that used to be a cinema and then ASK. It never really worked for the Italian restaurant, we ate there once and it was fine…but it was just kinda forgettable? So, Khana needed to really make it their own…a place that you’ll remember to come back to.
My first visit to Khana Bombay Café was with the lovely Harry and James to the press launch and my second visit was with (my) James and our niece, Kourtney. I liked the food on my first visit (especially the mains and dessert), but I wasn’t blown away. It was good, but the starters weren’t as good as the rest of the meal. My second visit was quite different though, I knew which dishes I had a good chances of liking and I really did like them a lot!
Here are the details…
We got stuck into the starters quickly (we were pretty hungry!). We shared the meat samosa chaat, which was lovely…
…the chilli cheese on toast (Bombay’s version of cheese on toast), which was tasty…but I would only want maybe half a slice (the bread overpowered it a bit).…the chicken kathi roll (naan roll with chicken, coriander and sweet chilli), which was a bit dry.…the dahi bhalla (fried urad dumplings in yoghurt and tamarind), which I didn’t like at all (quite mushy and bland, I wasn’t sure where the dumplings were).…the king prawns from the grill, which were very tasty indeed with a lovely light spice.…and chicken wings from the grill, which were also tasty.
I didn’t drink any alcohol on my first visit but James told me the pomegranate mojitos were great…and the beer was too…I was regretting driving!
We waited for our starters and I had chance to check out the décor properly. It’s very open plan and to combat the large upwards expanse from the old cinema, they’ve added ropes draped above part of the seating area. Not entirely sure of the relation to the cuisine? Perhaps they don’t need to relate and they just wanted to make it a bit more cosy?
I love the fairy lights on the window overlooking North Lane. I’m a bit of a sucka for fairy lights.
We sat on the ground floor, but upstairs there’s lots more room to eat.
I do have to say that if you’re sat on the ground floor facing the kitchen, the gantry light can be a bit distracting. It gets turned on and off a lot and really changes the whole ambiance of the room depending whether it’s on or off.
Time for the mains. They were very tasty…quite salty I thought that night, but to be fair I do like my food to be a little salty. The plates at Khana Bombay Café were warmed, always good. No-one likes lukewarm curry!
The Keema Pau (lamb, peas, onion and buttered Pau Buns) which was really delicious.
…the Chole Bhatura (spiced buttery chickpeas with fried bread), also very good.
…and the Lamb Desi Karahi (North Indian curry with tomatoes and fried onions), which was absolutely gorgeous. The lamb was lovely and tender.
We were pretty full after those mains, but of course we made room for dessert. I opted for the apple samosa (heaven on a plate!)
Harry went for the Kulfi Ice Lolly……and greedy chops here (me) also ordered a banana lassi (banana, yoghurt, honey and spices). It was really lovely.
So, my first visit was great, but I think I was maybe just a bit disappointed with the starters overall and thought the mains were maybe a bit salty.
I returned again to Khana Bombay Café with James and Kourtney – we wanted some tasty food and I thought it would be a good idea to see what they thought. I ordered the grilled king prawns again, the veg samosa chaat and the okra fries. All were really excellent – the okra fries were lovely and crispy and the samosa chaat was very fresh with a great texture.
I still wasn’t drinking (driving, yet again!), but instead of water this time I went for a Quinine Cooler which is tonic water (Fever tree, lovely), pomegranate seeds, coriander, lemon juice and grenadine. It was really good!
For mains, we shared the Ruby Karim (chicken with Makhani sauce) Lamb Bhindi Bhaji (okra, onion and tomato) and Chicken Desi Karahi. All were absolutely top notch…not too salty at all and very tasty.
I also had another apple samosa for dessert. They are really addictive! I could honestly eat one every day.
So, what did I think of Khana Bombay Café?
I would like them to get some kind of shield for the gantry light to stop it being quite so distracting (it was the same the second visit) and I have to say a few friends’ reviews have been a little mixed… but if the next time I go it’s just like the second time…then it’ll fast become a favourite restaurant of mine.
You can visit the website here for Khana Bombay Café and book online. If you’re feeling lazy and live in the area, you can also get them on Deliveroo…luckily for me, I just moved to Headingley…woop!
* Please note that my first meal was complimentary for review purposes. All my views, as always, as my own…and I gladly paid for the second meal.