Saturday, 24 September 2011

Friday Night at Cilantro

Last night Joe and I were invited to Cilantro on Moortown corner to try the food and meet the owner, Russell, who is new to twitter and looking to boost his online marketing.

Russel, who is just 35, opened Cilantro in Pickering in 2009, and expanded to Moortown last year.  Of Bangladeshi origin, his aim is to have a "pan Indian" restaurant serving specialities from across the country.  He is trying to modernise Indian cookery, and considering opening the restaurant for tapas at lunchtimes.  Citing Atul Kochhar as a food hero, he wants to experiment and bring something new to the Leeds cookery scene.

Me enjoying the wine as usual (please ignore the slightly odd blue lighting)
Joe enjoying his wine - his last night on the booze until after the Bradford half marathon on 2 October!
The big shining stars at Cilantro are the main courses.  The menu has a few unusual dishes that you wouldn't find in other local Indian eateries, such as lamb with turnip and a masala sauce, or chicken lavender korma (at the Pickering restaurant).

We went for the Andhra Chilli Murgh with chicken, which is described as spiced deep fried chicken in a chilli sauce with curry leaves and mustard seeds.  The fried chicken is cooked down in the sauce so doesn't have the taste or texture of deep fried chicken.  It is marked as medium hot, and was nicely warming.  We also had the "Cilantro Special" which is fresh water king prawns with onions, peppers, coriander and cumin.  This came with big, juicy butterflied prawns and lots of vegetables.  This one is also marked as medium hot, and I asked them to make it more spicy.  I even explained my difficulties in finding sufficiently hot food in Indian restaurants, which seem to anglicise the spicing levels, but I could have had it hotter.  They came with nice pilau rice and freshly made naan bread too.

We also had starters of crab and coriander cakes and lamb chilli tikka which, while nice, didn't match up to the mains.  I am also a little confused as to why they would serve the crab and coriander cakes with mayonnaise as opposed to a raita (which was perfectly nice with the poppadoms).

I'd recommend giving Cilantro a try - they are a relative newcomer to the Leeds Indian dining scene and looking to do something a little different, so deserve some local support.

Poppadoms - which were nice and warm
Dips, which I think were raita, chilli sauce, mango chutney and spiced onions
Crab and coriander cakes (with mayo!) and a little too much red onion for my tastes.  Very nice pickled cucumber accompaniment though.
Lamb chilli tikka which had some nice flavours
Andhra Chilli Murgh Chicken - a good recommendation
Cilantro special with spicy butterflied prawns - yum
naan bread
pilau rice
Our dessert - not entirely sure what this is - possibly pistachio ice cream with cream and syrup.  Probably wouldn't have this again.

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