Somehow I find myself still in Leeds, trawling to and from the library every day, doing my utmost not to get a third. It’s my last ever school holiday and I’m still here, slaving away, grumble grumble grumble … What better way to break up the monotony than sampling out Leeds’ veggie cuisine scene (a pint of gin is an equally superb idea).
I’d been meaning to go to Hansa’s for a while. It’s a Gujarati restaurant in a slightly eerie bit of town not far from the centre. Gujarat is a state in Western India that is mostly Hindu hence there is no holy cow (or any other animals) on the menu. This is the real deal in terms of Indian cooking (I should know, I went there on my g-yah don’t you know), not a tikka masala in sight and that’s what I really liked about Hansa’s – it was a real gastronomic gamble as you didn’t quite know what flave you were going to get next.
Hansa’s is a bit of a Leeds institution. It was established in 1986 by Hansa herself and has been going strong ever since. To celebrate 25 years of the restaurant, Hansa (a self-taught chef) wrote a cookbook which means she must be pretty fudging good.
I’d recommend one of the Thalis (although it’s not what I had). This is a kind of Hindi style tapas, so you can try a bit of everything. Curries, rice, breads and pudd are all served on silver trays and it all looks rather authentic as well as being guaranteed to arouse your taste buds. It’s a generous portion (my favourite kind) so this is perfect for supps.
I went for the Chevti Daal which was a mild and creamy lentil dish and I ordered the super-tasty coriander rice and a Rotli (chapatti when it’s at home) to go with it. Another of my supper pals had the Hansa’s sizzler which involved panneer and mixed veg in spicy spices.
I’m not much of a carnivore so the veggie element worked out fine for me and even if you like eating animals, I don’t think you’d feel compromised by a lentiliscious meal at Hansa’s.
We went on a Monday night which might explain why it was a bit quiet. It wasn’t exactly buzzing in there but I’d imagine with a few more tables filled, it might be a little more atmospheric. I’d definitely recommend it if you want to try something wholesome and different that won’t burn a hole in your little student pocket (we paid about £12 each, sans alcohol – it was a school night).
PS: Dear parents, I’m not really going to get a third. Love Dev xx