Restaurant reviews

Caviar de Riofrio and Mumtaz: It shouldn’t work but it just does!

Sometimes, foodie shocks come in unexpected places, so when I was invited to try out organic caviar from Spain alongside curry, I found myself both intrigued and ready to mock the idea! As the title of this post states, though, the reality was that even though this combination shouldn’t really work, it somehow just does.

Recently returned to the original owner’s hands, what was Chandeliers (operating effectively as a Mumtaz restaurant and riding on its coat-tails and past glory) is now rightly a Mumtaz again. This should help to breathe much-needed life back into an area of the city that has never quite lived up to hopes and expectations.

With Rab back at the helm and the recession feeling a bit more distant for some, the thought of living it up and splurging may soon be back in fashion. This perhaps explains the decision from Mumtaz to team up with Caviar de Riofrio. Not only are they starting to sell their caviar, but they are also putting it in some of their curries!

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I cannot claim to be a true connoisseur  of caviar (having eaten it only on a few occasions) but I was in many ways the perfect audience for trying out this exciting new range of organic caviar, precisely because Mumtaz are trying to entice normal, everyday curry lovers to give it a try on special occasions. By doing this at Mumtaz where booze won’t suck people’s money away (given it isn’t for sale here!), diners are handed the chance to try caviar in a dish they already like at a price they can afford (about £30 for a dish is the expectation).

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Of course, taste is king and crucial to getting people to part with their hard earned cash. Decades of work have been put into making this organic caviar (farmed in Spain and done so in a way that helps to keep sturgeon sustainable, compared to the dwindling numbers in the wild) and the end result is a real treat. Offering a creamier and less salty version as well as a more traditional Russian variety for those with palates more used to caviar, both samples that I tasted left my taste buds wanting more.

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As the flavours on offer had been distinctive, I had started to have faith that this ingredient would work nicely with a more subtle, aromatic curry and that the caviar would not be used in the same way that gold leaf adorns many foods (for reasons of status rather than taste).

The good folk of Mumtaz are clearly in the know when it comes to curry and they chose an excellent dish through which to present the curry and caviar combination, opting for an aromatic chicken korma with some caviar already placed on top. The rest of the caviar was placed in its own bowl so I could add to the dish or sample on its own.

What was apparent to me was that this concept allowed an ingredient that is often viewed as a little bit mythical and seen as being out of reach for normal people to become accessible.

For those of you who are foodies in the know, you may already be aware that caviar cannot be bought from any other shop in Leeds. So, if you feel like celebrating in style, you need to get down to the newly re-energised Mumtaz to enjoy a taste of a decadent lifestyle!

Disclaimer: I was invited down to review Caviar de Riofrio as well as to sample a Mumtaz curry with caviar. I was under no obligation to write a positive review and all opinions are my own. 

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