Having instigated a ‘Curry Club’ with work colleagues, it was my suggestion to go a bit further afield from our York base and head for Hansa’s in Leeds. The challenge of logistics proved too tricky for most and so attendance to ‘the club’ this evening were down to a minimum; but this did not damper the eager anticipation of what should be in store. Having visited once before, I new what to expect.
Hansa’s is a vegetarian Gujarati restaurant located in central Leeds. It’s been going since the mid ‘80s and over the years, Hansa’s has earned a reputation for excellent food, winning various awards along the way such as ‘Curry Chef of The Year 2008’ and recognised for contributions to the Leeds Restaurant Industry.
The restaurant is on three floors – the basement holding the kitchen and wash rooms, the ground floor being the main restaurant area with a split level arrangement to the ‘third’ floor containing more restaurant covers and a function area. The split level gives the restaurant an open and airy feel to it with the ground floor area being fronted with large windows that look out onto North Street.
Our waitresses, dressed in traditional Indian sari though not Indian herself, provided polite and attentive service. It was even good to see Hansa herself this evening making an appearance and being involved in the day to day running of the restaurant.
Our table was reserved for 6pm on a Thursday night and at this time it wasn’t at all busy but did fill up gradually over the course of the evening. Later on, we were even treated to some live acoustic guitar music and singing from a duet group which was not intrusive but blended in well in the background.
On my previous visit I had made a mistake with my order for a starter having misunderstood what was clearly described on the menu. Had I read the menu properly in the first place, I wouldn’t have ordered the plate of mixed bhajiyas. Determined not to make the same mistake, I was intrigued by the picture (see right) of the stuffed beef tomato in the menu described as “Hansa’s delight”. It was stuffed with spicy paneer masala, enclosed in batter and deep fried and served with a tamarind sauce. And it really was delightful to coin the term. The batter on the outside was light and not evidently oily from the deep fry. The colours, flavours and textures made it such an interesting dish and would definitely recommend it to anyone.
My main course was Ringan na Raviaya – baked aubergine stuffed with masala, onions and coarsely ground peanuts. As a side to complement this, I also ordered raita and some fresh, sliced tomatoes. The masala was quite spicy (for me!) in taste; any heat though was perfectly offset by the refreshing raita and tomatoes which both also added a bit of sweetness. The texture of the crunchy peanuts went very well with the soft, smooth flesh of the baked aubergine. I thought the portion of fresh tomatoes was thoughtfully presented as it was sprinkled with roasted cumin seeds.
I enjoyed this dining experience very much and would be quite happy to return again with or without the curry club!
72/74 North Street, Leeds, LS2 7PN
Tel: 0113 2444408
Monday – Thursday 5pm till 10pm
Friday 5pm till 11pm
Saturday 6pm till 11pm
Sunday 12pm till 2pm