Prashad, Drighlington, Bradford
It’s an eye-watering 22 years since Kaushy Patel started making and selling South Indian ‘roadside snacks’ out of her Bradford kitchen each night. Her son Bobby persuaded her that she should make the crowd-pleasing, subtly-spiced food accessible to more, and Prashad (‘blessed food’) was born.
Two decades have whizzed by in the blink of an eye. My list of achievements in that time could be documented on the back of a fag packet. Not so the Patels.
They’ve a brace of coveted AA Rosettes, an entry in the foodie’s bible, the Good Food Guide and have just been awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand. But probably the accolade they’re most proud of is Mr Gordon Ramsey’s seal of approval, reaching the final of Channel 4’s Ramsay’s Best Restaurant, losing by a parchment-thin puri.
But Gordon’s kept in touch – in fact Kaushy’s daughter-in-law Minal, who is now in charge (whilst Kaushy writes her marvellous books) has spent some time in Big G’s kitchen in London, being mentored by the man himself.
Their cramped restaurant in Bradford on an unglamorous, windy corner didn’t do justice to the food, but of course you forgot all about it when a perfect plate of Pattra was put in front of you. ‘Reception’ was in a slightly scruffy room across the road but the welcome was so genuinely warm, who cared?
In the move to Drighlington they’ve almost doubled the covers, a fact that rattled me a bit; can they deliver the same consistently top quality dishes and uphold the delightfully personal service of old?
New Prashad is in a huge old stone-built former pub on another less than attractive corner by a busy junction, but the cheery glow from tall windows draws you in. The deep pink and lively blue livery throughout pulls the place together nicely – and it’s a big space with tall ceilings but head of interiors Mayur Patel has cleverly created a sense of intimacy in a series of linked rooms when it could easily have felt cavernous.
The menu is pretty much the same with one or two notable additions; vegetable Handhi, a deep, complex spiced dish with fresh ginger, and the magnificent Wattana & Flower, a delicately flavoured chunky cauliflower dish cooked with fresh peas.They’re licensed now too, so crack open the Kingfishers!
So the Patel magic continues; they’ve survived the move and some. It’s more sophisticated but just as friendly. They’ve doubled the space but you’re still made to feel special. Service is exemplary. But most importantly of all, shimmering fairy dust has once again been liberally sprinkled on the faultless food.