Budget banquets

The first in a series on the tastiest places to eat out that will please your wallet as well, food writer Ruth Allan is in Bradford

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Bradford is home to some of the best curry houses, a thriving craft beer scene, and the extraordinary resource of moving and digital images that is the National Media Museum. So to kick off a series of articles about eating out for a reasonable price in the north, this city, high in the Pennines, seemed like the perfect place to start.


Queen among Bradford’s curry houses (it cooked for HRH on a recent visit up north) is a 200-seater restaurant that has thrived in the heart of Bradford since 1979. Back in the day, us Brits were new to the flavours of South Asia, but we soon

developed a taste for warming spices like cumin, coriander, chilli and more, and they are used to liberal and intense effect across the Mumtaz menu. Rather than toning flavours down, these curries stand up and wag their finger at you. It’s what chefs from Ramsbottom’s Tamil Nadan restaurant, Sanminis, and those I speak to in the streets nearby describe as the original and best in town. There’s no denying the décor is bling. There’s a large, rotating “Mumtaz” sign dominating the street outside and, as at posh restaurants in Delhi, polished marble, brass and black leather seats are de rigueur. We tried the chicken tikka masala, which is hands down the most flavoursome and hot version of this dish I’ve ever tasted. It’s characterised by a reduced tomato sauce, fresh green chillies sliced in half and tender fingers of chicken breast. Lamb Karachi performs similarly well at this home of the classics. As well as a standard

takeaway, there is a large deli store in the lobby selling curries in ready meal format, as well as slabs of masala fish (£6.50 per portion) and snacks like bhajis and samosas.

Take out snacks from £1.45, eat in £2.40, pre-packed mains to go £3.45, eat in from £6.95. 390 Great Horton Road, BD7 3HS, 01274 571861, www.mumtaz.co.uk.


Tucked away at the bottom of Horton Grange Road, Indian vegetarian restaurant Prashad is a favourite of Gordon Ramsay. In 2010 it secured a spot in the final in his Channel 4 TV show, Ramsay’s Best Restaurant, and has since opened a takeaway outlet across the road, adding a prized AA Rosette to its achievements. The décor resembles sunrise. Two walls are Haribo orange while the others seem to reflect their sunlight. The effect, needless to say, is not one of relaxation, but that’s not the point. The point of eating at Prashad is fine, fresh food, served at the pace at which it’s cooked.

If time is on your side, it’s worth eating in to relish the flavours – and chutneys – on offer. We started with a rock-dry poppadum each (£1.99) served with fresh tomato and coriander chutney, mint yoghurt, mango and zingy, rich chunks of sweet tamarind. Pethis are a snack of spice-infused coconut balls, coated in fluffy mash, deep-fried and served with a lime-soaked relish. Paired with a Mysore dosa, we’re entering curry-dream-team territory. Smeared with coconut and tamarind, the rice batter and lentil dosa pancake is as long as my arm, and comes with vegetable curry, sweet dhal and coconut and yoghurt chutney. Options we didn’t take include the “junior curry lover’s meal” made from zero-chilli fritters, chole (chickpeas curry), puri and rice (£4.99), a nod to Prashad’s family-friendly ethos. Rumoured to be featured in the Michelin Guide 2012, Prashad is closed on Mondays.

Takeaway starters from £3.50, eat in £4.99, mains £6.95, eat in £8,86 Horton Grange Road, BD7 2DW, 01274 575893


Many visitors to the UNESCO City of Film (aka Bradford) won’t get beyond the National Media Museum. It is the top visitor attraction in West Yorkshire, with more than half a million visitors each year, and the large, spacious, well imagined venue spread over nine floors is just as eyeboggling as intended. If you are very old, you might remember the early days of film when leaping, jolting animations were the stuff fairground attractions were made of. There’s plenty of old footage along these lines to coo at, as well as modern TV studios with sets for the younger generation to run in and out of. After all this excitement, the Intermission Cafe, in the main hall as you walk in, is a bit of a letdown. They’ve got those sandwich, yoghurt, fruit, biscuit and drink boxes for kids (£3.95) and plenty of cakes. Musing on the selection, we liked the look of the chocolate chip-pocked shortbread (£1.55) and large chocolate muffins (£2.20) but finally settled on a just-set and authentically dark chocolate brownie (£1.75). They also do soup of the day (what other than lentil dhal, £3.50, served with wholemeal bread) and a range of fair-trade teas and coffees. Other eating and drinking facilities include a picnic area and a bar upstairs called Pictureville. Lacking the personal touch, this is still a central bet for a mid-afternoon refuel.

Cakes from £1.50, soup £3.50, children’s snack boxes, £3.95. Little Horton Street, BD1 1NQ, 0844 856 3797

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