I have been a customer at the Corner Cafe, on and off, for twenty odd years, since the late eighties when we lived nearby, and have never had a less than excellent mouthful of food.
I remember it when it still looked like the old bank from which it was converted, but now the owners have added a mezzanine floor and doubled the effective size of the restaurant, it is as good as ever, and it is still best to book!
My latest visit was with my wife on Saturday evening, before a visit to see the Selecter, playing up the road at Brudenell social club. With that blast from the past, we thought it would be nice to catch up with another institution from our days in Leeds, and I called to book a table at the Corner Cafe. I got the recorded message to leave my name and was called back almost straight away with confirmation of our booking, an excellent system.
When we arrived our table was not quite ready but we were warmly welcomed and took a seat to order drinks.
The bar is a delight for beer lovers, with many varieties of local real ales, served either chilled or at room temperature, at reasonable prices. We did not have wine but the prices of that were very reasonable, too.
We chose poppadums and some individual pickle and chutney selections (a nice change from automatically getting the set pickle tray) and this was an excellent starter.
For those who have not been before, the food is really excellent, but is more a home cooking style that the type of food you get in the more conventional curry houses. for example, the food is not highly coloured and the dishes are set out on the menu in terms of ingredients rather than hotness, so you choose your ingredients and then choose your spice levels.
I had Chicken with Pepper and Aubergines, my wife Chicken and mixed vegetables, both medium to hot.
The dishes were excellent, well cooked, full of flavour, spicy but with all the individual flavours still easy to differentiate.
Our Nan bread, too was just lovely, slightly crispy, slightly sweet, buttery, fluffy inside, absolutely perfect.
I have to say it was a super meal in a lovely place. this is not a restaurant that bends over backwards to provide an "authentic" experience, there are no pictures of the Taj Mahal, no distorted Bollywood film music, no flock wallpaper. Most of the staff are European, but all were knowledgeable about the food, and very helpful. Nor is it trying to be trendy or chic. It is pleasantly cosy, and ploughs it's own furrow, by providing superb food, in a convivial and relaxed environment, and with great service, where the soundtrack is the happy chatter of satisfied diners. I think this makes it the most authentic Indian restaurant of all, just like having dinner with our Indian friends, and is can think of no higher praise.
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