Family-run series of restaurants that serve top-class Indian cuisine. The creamy Hyperabadi is recommended, although there are more familiar dishes on the menu.
Aagrah may not be a single restaurant, or even solely located in Yorkshire after its recent expansion into Bristol, but the Shipley-based chain is a compulsory feature on any list of the region’s most successful establishments. The family-run business is a mammoth operation nowadays, but it started from humble roots in the late 70s at a time of culinary suspicion in the UK, and has since earned a fond place in Yorkshire hearts.
Although you may have to wait for up to half an hour on the sofas in the plush bar area on jam-packed weekends in the inner-city St Peters Square branch, table service is fast and efficient.
The waiter does admit that two of the enormous menu’s most popular items are chips and cheese naan, but this is more likely illustrative of the tentative eating habits of its patrons than any issues with the quality of food from the kitchen. All the usual curry house staples are available, but the signature house dish is the Hyderabadi – a mild-to-medium curry with a rich blend of spices and cream that could easily rival any korma or tikka masala.
The range of ever-changing specials includes spicy lamb kebabs that hit the table still sizzling, and fresh fish cooked to perfection in a blend of aromatic spices. This is washed down with a dessert glass of mango lassi that’s thick, filling and fruity, and a tray of crisp poppadums (at 80p each, be careful how many you ravenously order as you take your seat) with the standard selection of chutneys and dips.
Forget bring-your-own and corkage: the Aagrah bar serves Lal Toofan, Cobra and Kingfisher, as well as a wide selection of wine, cocktails, cider and spirits.
The larger restaurants can become extremely noisy, hot, and high-pressured when dealing with large office groups at Christmas time, so an early evening booking is recommended at seasonal times. Far from the days of the stereotypically chintzy Indian restaurant, Aagrah boasts glitzy marble decor, sharply dressed waiting staff, and world-class Kashmiri cuisine.
St Peter's Square
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat 5.30pm-midnight; Sun 4.30-10.30pm|