Halal fine dining. Quite a concept. Does it work? Oh yes. A couple of entrepreneurs had the notion of giving young aspirational muslims an alternative to standard Bradford curry fare – a really good idea when you think about it. Local lads Armi Ahmed and Oman Rana, self-confessed foodies (Armi has eaten – literally – all over the world. You know when we were all trying to get into El Bulli, Noma and Chez Panisse? We were in the queue behind Armi ..)
They’ve colonised a quiet corner in Little Germany and created one of the coolest eating spaces we’ve been in for some time. Godfather of minimalism John Pawson would approve. Groovy dance tunes draw you in to a room stripped of any fuss. There’s nothing on any surface other than cutlery – oh and the mother of a copper coffee machine on the desk at the door. It’s all concrete and corian, leather banquettes and Hans Wegner chairs. I told you it was cool.
The menu is as stripped down as the room. Half a dozen starters and mains as is the fashion, and we want to work our way through it. Chose from the likes of cauliflower risotto, salmon confit, cucumber juice and Girolle bruschetta with braised chicken to start – all pretty as a picture, beautifully presented and really well thought-through in terms of colour, texture and balance. Braised beef, mash, carrots is a wickedly sticky, dark devil of a plate, the meat cooked sous vide so falling apart at the fork. Beef ragu pappardelle appeals but the lamb wins. Served pink (and tender as tender can be) it’s dressed with steamed spring veg and ewes milk cheese. Lamb and cheese, a great combo. Who knew?
Puds are just as impressive; the chocolate fondant with salted caramel ice cream stands out. As of course does the coffee from the mighty Italian Athena (the size of a Fiat and about the same price). The food, the room and the service are all fab.