Some of the joys of traveling for work are the amazing places you get to visit. Such as the hot destinations of Cologne and now ... Leeds. I'm being a bit sarcastic, however, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder and you need to make the most of your trips.
To make the most out of my trip to Leeds, I was luckily accompanied by someone who had visited before and was able to provide a food recommendation. And what was recommended was, Akbar's restaurant.
What is Akbar's for the few (mainly Londoners who have never heard of it). Well, as the site says:
Few people embody the spirit of brilliant entrepreneurship coupled with achieving the highest standards in modern South Asian cuisine better than Shabir Hussain, the founder of the Akbars chain of restaurants.
From humble beginnings, starting with just a small 28 seat restaurant in the heart of Bradford City and through his sheer passion and determination, his culinary vision has always been to serve the very best in authentic South Asian food. His ethos has always been “anything is possible - it's just a case of how bad you want it”
I like it. Anything is possible. Based on their Family Naan (you will see below), anything is.
Before we visited Akbar's we had a networking event, so had some canapes there. This meant that when it came to ordering food, we didn't and couldn't have too much.
So, in true curry club tradition we ordered:
This ended up being too much for two adults and unfortunately there was a fair bit leftover. Especially the Naan.
A key feature of Akbar's is the Family Naan and the sheer size of it.
Bigger than my head and probably anyone else's. It comes on a strange skewer contraption and is definitely Insta worthy. This was originating back when Insta wasn't a thing too.
The food here is tasty, from the chutney tray at the start to the curry at the end. I really enjoyed the Makhani (although the waiter, seemed to suggest it was a dish for kids - as it is quite sweet), whilst the bhindi was a must have too..
The Naan, I felt look good, but was almost too big and therefore we wasted so much. If you are a large group, have it. Otherwise, don't waste the food.
GOOD TIMES: Good food, on par with similar venues in London
WATCH OUT: Eyes bigger than your belly. The food is very filling.
OMG: That Naan ------> HUGE.
Taking a stroll through Chinatown and guess what I had. A Burger, of course.
I had initially planned on having a cheap(ish) lunch; payday seems so far away. So wondering through Chinatown, we luckily saw IchiBuns. I have heard good things about this place, so put my money worries behind and walked in.
Ichibuns is a lot more than burgers. The menu is full of Noodles, Sushi, Ramen, Sashimi and Dumplings. I think with such a variety, going in a group is a good idea as it will allow people to share.
Although the menu has many options, my brother was craving a burger, so we stuck to our guns and went for the burgers.
ICHIBUNS BURGER - £ 13.5
A blend of British Wagyu and Angus beef, miso-caramelised onion and American cheese with ICHI burger sauce
SPICY CHICKEN KARAAGE BURGER - £12.5 Crispy chicken thigh coated in spicy seasoning, butter lettuce, cheese and tomato with mustard mayo
Thorough description on the burgers above. We shared the burgers and both were on par with each other.
The beef patty was very juicy and succulent. Good medium to well, it had a good bite and oozed with a good coating of cheese.
The chicken was delicately crisp and the spicy seasoning gave a good kick that reminded you that spice is a flavour in itself too.
GOOD TIMES: Lovely burger(s)
WATCH OUT: That menu. where do you start? You will need a few visits here to try everything
OMG: That menu. where do you start?
Just because I have to travel for work, does not mean I can't eat OR that i am too professional to take pics of my food. No chance.
Off to Cologne for DMEXCO, which meant walking round the Kolnmesse halls, networking, schmoozing and getting my step count up.
Usually, food is not the key focus and what you expect is canteen style food or Currywurst from a Truck. I had both of these and some more. From the pictures below you can see, that when in Germary, pork is THE meat to have.
The pictures of the food, above and below were from Papa Joe's (Cologne Old Town), this was the Pork Knuckle and Zum Prinzen (Schnitzel). Both hit the spot and were great with a side (s) of beer.
The Germans are not big fans of pints here. Instead the small glass of beer, was a clever way to get you drunk without you knowing. Two sips and the glass of beer is finished and you are on to the next one. Before you know it you have ordered about 9 or 10 ( been charged a fortune) and tipsy AF. Ah well, put it on works time and expenses. (Shhhhhh)
So Schnitzels, Pork Knuckles and Sausages. The joke (title of this Post) is the only thing which is bad, whilst the rest (food, conference etc) are all an experience to savour and make the most out of.
See you next year COLOGNE, i Think.