Saturday, 29 June 2013

Review: Kayal, Leicester

Earlier this month after a twitter discussion, I found myself heading into Leicester on a foodie blind date. I met up with fellow foodie and chef extraordinaire Laurie and local and equally fabulous food blogger Emily for a couple of drinks followed by dinner at Kayal on Granby Street, just a few mins walk from the train station. Specialising in Keralan cuisine with a focus on seafood, there are a couple of restaurants in the Kayal chain, including in nearby Leamington Spa and Nottingham and I've only ever heard good things about them.

We were in good company, past diners include Gok Wan, Paul Hollywood and the Hairy Bikers. I was also surprised to see that on a Tuesday evening, the place was pretty full! The decor is a little on the 'interesting' side, this doesn't look like fine dining but go with it, you'll be very well fed by friendly staff!
Kayal South Indian Restaurant in Leicester
Kayal, Leicester
After a good 20 minutes perusing the large menu, we opted for the pickles and snacks sharing plate to start. I was expecting the conventional poppadoms, lime and mango pickle and perhaps something onion based. What came out was much much better and included the exotic sounding (and looking) Achappam - made in the shape of a flower from rice flour and coconut - and Nenthraka Varunthathu - banana crisps seasoned with turmeric. There were also different types of poppadoms and the home made chutneys were delicious.

Kayal Leicester Pickles and Snacks
Pickles and Snacks sharing plate - £4.69
Kayal Leicester Cochin Squid
Cochin Squid £5.79
Next all three of us opted for Cochin Squid - a kind of Indian Calamari. The squid was fresh and tender and cut into very thin rings. The portion was generously large too although don't worry, I managed the lot!
For main I had the Alappuzha Konju Masala. A rich and creamy curry with ginger, coconut and big juicy king prawns. It was absolutely delicious with an almost Thai flavour to it. Although it was quite spicy, the coconut really cools the heat. I'd say it was around the spice level of a Bhuna or Dopiaza in a more usual Indian restaurant. Definitely one to recommend!

Kayal restaurant in Leicester, tucking in Bathura, Curry, Rice
Tucking in!

We shared a couple of portions of rice, a Bathura (Fried fluffy bread) and a Paratha (A Kerala speciality – wheat dough layered and coiled in to a coir mat shape then cooked on the griddle) and there was plenty of food to go around - we struggled to finish everything as the portions were very generous.
Alappuzha Konju Masala.£11.69
Foodies at work!
Perhaps its the chef coming out but Laurie was the most adventurous out of our little group, going for the Njandu Curry which contained a whole crab, right down to its claws and legs. Although a very messy dish, it smelt delicious and he wasted no time getting stuck in! And I don't blame him :-)

Bathura (to share) - £1.99
Njandu Curry - £12.69 

 

I would recommend Kayal to anyone who enjoys going out for a curry. The flavours we enjoyed echoed both Indian and South East Asian cuisine. I would recomemend you go for seafood (although there are plenty of meat options too) as this is really what Kayal specialise in. Harking back to their roots in the Keralan backwaters of South India where fresh fish and spices rule over the heavier ingredients such as  sugar, ghee and salt used in most Indian restaurants around the Midlands.

Over and out! 

3 comments:

  1. Nice review! We just went to Kayal for the first time earlier in the month, too! Really different from other Indian restaurants and it took ages to figure out what to order. It was a good evening out & we'd go again :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Sophie, yes we took ages to decide! I'll go back soon and take the hubby.. no doubt it'll take us ages again :-)

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  2. Great post :) Here's to the next meet up! xx

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