Hey guys, Mayur here! As some of you might know, I grew up in my parent’s restaurant, Prashad, in Bradford. It’s now a few BD postcodes away in Drighlington, but still in the family with my brother Bobby and his wife Minal at the helm. I might be bias, but it’s ace! You should go!! It’s got two AA Rosettes and a Bib Gourmand and everything.
But before all the accolades, before the visits from Gordon Ramsay (you can just skip past the bit at 2:36, definitely don’t look in the background…) and the Hairy Bikers, before Bobby and Minal, my Mum & Dad ran OG Prashad as an Indian deli. We served Gujurati home cooking and traditional snacks and farsan that we’d source from delis in Leicester. We’d do the rounds going to places that specialise in one or two things – Bombay Mix from one spot, Jalebi and Mithai from next door, and then down the other end of Belgrave Road for Biscuits. Repeating the same circuit on a weekly basis, stopping off for Chaat or Masala Dosa before the drive back up to BD7.
I still make a point to go down every year in the run-up to Diwali to stock up on decorations and Mithai for the team and customers, and love going every time, so last week me and our Executive Chef, Gopi (who worked alongside me in the Prashad kitchen after moving over from India) cleared some time in our schedule for a visit. We spent a whole day around The Golden Mile and the areas around Belgrave Road to visit some of our old haunts, see some of the Bundo suppliers that we inherited from OG Prashad, get some inspiration, and do a bit of a food tour.
Kabhi Kabhi have been our suppliers for the last 30 years and have a massive range of farsan (or mixture). Their sev – the crunchy chick pea noodles in Bhel Puri and on top of Bundo Chaat – is the GOAT, and we still use it to this day. When we decided to put Bombay Mix on the Bar Snack menu, Kabhi Kabhi were the first people we hit up, and they absolutely nailed our custom Bundo Blend.
The hospitality in Kabhi Kabhi is amazing too – Uncle and Aunty always take us out the back for hot Massala Chai, Thepla, and fresh Samosas – mega start to our roaming tasting menu.
Afterwards we thought some Bhajias – crispy veggies coated in gram flour, served with spicy chutneys – would hit the spot, so went down to Mumbai Bhajia Station, but, just our luck, they were closed on Tuesdays. Next time!
Next stop, Aarti Sweet Centre which sells snacks over the counter with the sort of set-up you’d expect from a butcher of baker, but the trays are piled high with sweets and farsan. The Fafdha is great, and Jalebi is a must here, if you haven’t had it, imagine funnel cake but rather than a dusting of sugar it’s absolutely saturated in a sweet syrup to it turns into a sticky, chewy, caramely tangle.
We picked up some bits to take back for the kitchen crew and my Mum and Dad, and then decided to give our teeth a break at Shiva Shakti, a great Desi supermarket. Loads of snacks you won’t find anywhere else (shout out to the holiday crisp crew), fresh veg, and as much incense as your nose can handle. If you’ve ever smelt it, best believe they’ve dealt it. One of the OG suppliers too.
I’ve always known TF Cash & Carry as Cellar – so much to see in this subterranean goldmine, from Diwali decorations to pots and pans and, turn a corner, and a massive selection of Desi Music – traditional Bhangra and some fun Western-influenced stuff. Managed to resist the temptation of that Power Ballads 2CD set (for now) – crate diggers would have an absolute field day here.
Back to eating then. Really fancied a Dosa so I rang Mum and she told us to go to Dakshin, so that was that. She should be the one writing this really. Went for the classic Massala Dosa roughly the size of a cricket bat, plus a sticky, swicy Paneer Tikka, and Samosa Chaat for good measure.
Getting full now, so we activated dessert stomachs and headed to Street Taste Co, a great little shop with loads of fun Indian drinks and snacks. We got a cheeky Ice Gola – a stick of shaved ice in a plastic cup, doused in bright syrup. Don’t be surprised if you see these pop up in Bundo next Summer…
Final stop, Sangam Pan House. Any big Indian meal should finish with Sweet Paan, a mouth-freshening palate cleanser made by wrapping Betel leaves a mixture of sweet jams, preserved rose petals, lime peel, desiccated coconut, sugar-coated fennel seeds – everybody’s got their own custom combo.
Some street wallahs in India set the whole thing alight and shove it into your mouth – we didn’t opt for that (this time). Always have to get a couple of dozen of these whenever one of us visits Leicester as everyone loves them – it’d be like going to Blackpool and not buying a stick of rock.
We brought a load of weird and wonderful Paan fillings back up so Dan Hocking could experiment with their flavours in the Bundo Brewery too, so if you order a pint and it arrives on fire and leaves your mouth spicy-fresh, you’ll know why.
Full of food, nostalgia, and inspiration, it was time to get back up to Leeds – but not before a quick stop at the Cellar for a certain Power Ballads double CD…
Oh yeah – couldn’t talk about Leicester without a special shout-out to The Pizza Parlour on Belgrave Road. Really chuffed to see this place is still going – really fond formative memories of this place opening when I was about 10 and introducing me to the New York Slice. Tabasco sauce on each table was a revelation too.
See ya next time!