In the second half of the 20th century, Bradford emerged as a culinary hotspot for Asian cuisine. Bradford is now celebrated for its award-winning and historic curry houses and Asian restaurants – here are ten of the best.
3 Singhs is one of the finest Indian restaurants in Bradford and serves up high-quality Punjabi cuisine at their Sticker Lane premises in the south of the city. The idea of launching a top-notch restaurant was first conceived by the three owners in 2001, with 3 Singhs opening its doors in 2004 and now holding a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor. The selection of dishes on the menu is extensive; among the house specials served up at 3 Singhs are fish masala karahi – fish fillets with onions, ginger, tomato and Indian spices, and keema matar – a dish of minced lamb and peas with tomatoes, onions, garlic and ginger.
Bharat is a well-established curry house that has been serving high-quality northern Indian dishes since 1987, bursting with vibrant colours and flavours. The restaurant is hugely popular with the residents of Bradford and holds a Certificate of Excellence for 2014 from TripAdvisor. The specialty dish is the Kurchi lamb – a whole leg of lamb marinated in spices for 24 hours, ensuring maximum flavour. There are also plenty of classics on the menu – choose from tikka masalas, bhunas and kormas or something a little spicier, such as a vindaloo. Rarer curries are available such as dhansak, karai, and tawa.
Kipling’s has been serving up top-notch food for 17 years. Based on the Harrogate Road in the north of Bradford, the restaurant has an excellent reputation and has appeared at the Best of Britain Awards, with branches now in Halifax and Bradford. Named after the great storyteller and poet of British India, Rudyard Kipling, the concept behind Kipling’s is to combine Indian cuisine with the finest British ingredients. Among the award-winning specials are the tandoori king prawns and chicken shashlik – a mild, Persian-influenced dish of chicken fillets marinated in yoghurt, lemon and salt before being barbecued in a tandoori oven.
MyLahore takes inspiration from the cuisine of Lahore in Pakistan, but fuses traditional Indian food with British staples; you will find classic curries on the menu alongside sponge cakes for dessert. Located close to the University of Bradford in the city centre, the restaurant opened in 2002 and is family-run, stretching over four floors. The menu includes classic karahis, kormas, madras and biryanis, as well as items such as panini, wraps, steaks and pasta for those who prefer their meal a little less spicy. To finish off the meal, enjoy jam roly poly, chocolate sponge cake, gateaux and cheesecakes. MyLahore were also featured at the English Curry Awards in 2013.
Not every Asian restaurant in Bradford serves up Indian and Pakistani cuisine. As the name suggests, this restaurant serves up Thai dishes made using locally-sourced ingredients that are then prepped and cooked with Thai spices. There are soups, taster menus and chef’s specialties to choose from, with Thai curries such as pumpkin, panang, and mussamun. If this doesn’t appeal, you can opt for something from the wok, such as the My Thai signature beef or duck platters, or chicken and duck with tamarind sauce.
Omar Khan’s is based in the center of Bradford close to the City Park and Bradford Interchange Station – ideal for stopping for a bite to eat after a trip to the Alhambra Theatre, the Photographic Museum or St George’s Hall. The restaurant has been around for over 20 years and won the Best in Britain award from the Real Curry Guide three years in a row, from 1997 to 2000. Among the specialty dishes on offer at Omar Khan’s are murgh shashlik, a dish of chicken cooked in tomatoes, onions, and red and green peppers and multani khas, an indulgent mixture of chicken, lamb, prawns and mushrooms cooked in a mango sauce and served with a blend of spices.
Prashad has a reputation for providing some of the most unique and innovative cuisine in Yorkshire. Its food won Prashad a place in the final of Gordon Ramsay’s search to find Britain’s Best Restaurant back in 2010. Prashad has also been mentioned in the Good Food Guide and the Michelin Guide – and was named Best Indian Restaurant at the Yorkshire Evening Post Oliver Awards in 2014. The restaurant has been owned by the same family for over two decades and provides excellent south Indian and Gujarati vegetarian dishes, many of which will be completely new to diners. Among the intriguing dishes on the menu are Bombay Bataka, a dish of potatoes with mustard seed and tomatoes, and Tarka Dhai, slow-cooked lentils with spices and tomatoes.
Shimla Spice is based in Shipley, just a few miles north of Bradford and most certainly worth the journey. Established by three brothers, Shimla Spice has since won countless awards, including being voted the ‘Best Indian Restaurant in England’ in 2013 at the English Curry Awards. Other than this, in 2014 Shimla Spice was listed in the top fifty Indian restaurants at the Best of Britain Awards, and has represented Bradford at the Curry Capital Awards for several years. The menu allows diners to choose from many different spice levels – from multani and jaipur up to jalfrezi and vindaloo.
Sweet Centre is on Lumb Lane close to Bradford Forster Square station and is something of an institution in the area. One of the very first Asian restaurants to open in the city, Sweet Centre first served up dishes in 1964, providing Kashmiri food to migrants who had come to Bradford for work. Since then, the clientele has expanded hugely and even the Queen has graced Sweet Centre with her presence. Back in 1999, The Independent ranked the restaurant as the ninth best curry house in the whole of the UK. The menu keeps things simple and focuses on the classics – balti, bhuna, masala, rogan josh, korma, and dopiaza, all served up with plenty of naans.
The Zouk Tea Bar and Grill opened its doors in Bradford in 2006, signalling the arrival of a new generation of Asian restaurants. Run by brothers Mudassar and Tayub Amjad, the dishes offer something more innovative than the standard curry house menu; among the monthly specials are chicken cafreal – a Goan-style dish in which chicken is marinated in green masala, and Punjabi masala chops. Alternatively, you can try some specialty seafood including gwadri khas – a masala lobster with spices from Baluchistan in Pakistan.