Top-tier Asian restaurants are ten a penny in West Yorkshire, but only a handful have the passion and pedigree that allows them to stand the test of time quite like Kebabeesh.
Founded way back in 1979, this award-winning family restaurant has earned its stripes by constantly evolving its collection of signature dishes, inspired by the very best cuisine from Pakistan and India.
Kebabeesh Founder, Jay, drew upon his Pakistani heritage alongside his Persian father’s origins to craft a culinary experience like no other. Located in the Greengate’s suburb of Bradford, the restaurant has garnered a loyal following since moving to its current venue back in the 1980s.
I dropped in on a busy Wednesday evening with fellow writer and food photographer extraordinaire, Northern Food Lad, to enjoy a long-overdue catch-up – and of course, to try some of the dishes that have made this restaurant so beloved.
After a warm welcome, we perused the menu over some ice-cold Cobras, poppadom’s and a pickle tray, quickly realising we could do with a little help to pick out some highlights. Thankfully, Ammar was on hand to help, taking his time to go through the bestsellers, as well as some of the lesser-known gems hiding on the menu.
We began with the Masala Fish, which consists of deep-fried haddock marinated overnight in a spicy flour batter and served with crispy salad and mint sauce. The fish was flaky and delicate, and the golden coating was perfectly crisp. Delicious.
Next came the King Prawn Tikka, which arrives on a skewer marinated in olive oil, crushed cumin and coriander seeds. The prawns were deliciously sweet and succulent, enhanced by the subtle tikka spices which made the dish an absolute winner.
For mains, we opted for a mix of the familiar and the unknown. The Butter Chicken was by far the best version I’ve ever tried of this classic Indian staple. From the tender chicken pieces to the rich and creamy tomato-infused sauce, everything about this dish was spot-on.
Our second main was something I wouldn’t have chosen had it not been for our chat with Ammar. The Lamb Nahari, a Lahore speciality and much-loved dish amongst Pakistani families, was truly exceptional and easily my hot pick for the evening.
Consisting of fall-apart tender lamb that’s been marinated for 24 hours, this aromatic and complex dish blends a myriad of herbs and spices to create a warming and deeply flavoursome taste experience. Served with a side tray of fragrant sliced ginger, coriander, fried onions and lemon to garnish yourself, you can make this dish as fiery as you like.
An excellent discovery and one that I’ll be returning to again and again. Our mains were well complemented with a tasty garlic naan and some pilau rice, as well as a couple of glasses of red wine.
We finished the evening with a scrumptiously calorific Biscoff Cheesecake and an equally rich Chocolate Brownie with ice-cream. A great end to a very memorable meal.
Kebabeesh lives up to its stellar reputation, delivering a masterclass in authentic Asian flavours that will stay with you long after you leave the restaurant. The venue is laidback and cosy, the service is pitch-perfect and the choice on offer will satisfy both traditionalists and those looking to seek out something new. A true gem in the UK’s Asian culinary capital.
Kebabeesh, 165 New Line, Bradford, BD10 0BN. Tel 01274 617188 or book online here.