Restaurant reviews

Why the city centre Cat’s Pyjamas should be on your must-visit list for 2017

The Cat’s Pyjamas has become a huge mainstay of the Headingley dining scene since opening. Drive past even on a weekday evening and it’s buzzing, full of Leeds locals tucking into some amazing Indian street food-inspired grub or having a cheeky drink.

In our opinion at least, it was always worth the trip to Headingley for those who reside in the city centre, but thanks to owner Alison White’s never-ending supplies of ambition and energy, there’s now no need for city centre dwellers to stray that far.

The new Cat’s Pyjamas is within a stone’s throw of the new Victoria Gate shopping complex, and a couple of doors up from Akbar’s on Eastgate. The transformation of the building into a restaurant and bar is impressive, especially the upstairs bar area, which is at once cosy and spacious. The bar area makes the city centre Cat’s a draw even just for those looking for a pint of craft beer after work and a cheeky onion bhaji rather than a full-on meal.

As for the food, you’ll know if you’ve been to the Headingley incarnation that the food is just really, really good. The Cat’s Pyjamas is now our local go-to for curry, and the standards have carried through to the new opening in town.

Our favourites from the menu include the onion bhaji, which come served fritter-style, making them crispy and moreish compared to the rather limp bhajis you sometimes get at a curry house. The Keralan prawn curry, a favourite of ours from the Headingley restaurant, was packed full of aromatic flavours and prawns so big and plump that they were surprisingly filling as well as being delicious.

The Kheema Matar is described on the menu as a gift from the Persians to India, and it’s fair to say it’s also a gift from the Cat’s Pyjamas to us Leeds curry lovers; spicy but delicate in flavour and packed full of tender meat, this is a winner of a dish.

The Cat’s Pyjamas in the city centre ticks every box: great for a snack and a beer after work, perfect for a catch-up with friends or a more intimate meal for two, and great for groups (the place was being set up for a 30th birthday party when we popped in).

With unobtrusive, laidback service, an open kitchen where you can see the breads being popped out of the tandoor (one final tip from us would be to order the cheese naan, it’s truly divine) and smell the delicious aromas of fresh Indian food being cooked, this really does need to be at the top of your list of city centre restaurants to visit this new year.

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