Abdul’s – Review
Although born in Sheffield, I spent most of my younger years in the small West Yorkshire town of Pontefract. So when Wakefield based Abdul’s invited me to try out their new Sheffield venue I was a little intrigued.
Not only was this a chance to find a new eatery on Sheffield, I might finally find somewhere to go back in Pontefract too – as their other branch is located in the town centre.
Before heading out for dinner, the restaurant’s PR had warned that I should expect a takeaway/diner rather than a formal restaurant and I would say that Abdul’s is quite similar to a high standard fast food restaurant. Imagine a super clean, bright and airy KFC with an open kitchen and smiling chefs and you’re halfway there.
We grabbed a paper menu from the counter and headed towards the big floor to ceiling windows to find a table. There’s a mix of chairs, wooden benches and banquette style seating – along with a good mix of customers (or guests, as owner Ghulam Azram likes to call us); students, middle aged professionals and couples on their way to a night out on Eccy Road.
We kicked off with Fish Pakora (£3.20) from the specials section of the menu. Moist chunks of fish were coated in a lightly spiced batter, and deep fried. It was an ample portion and the side salad was fresh and a cut above most with strawberries, grapes and slices of orange making appearances! And, although the plastic tubs may have shocked me in a restaurant, they seemed to be the obvious choice here. Plus, once we’d moved onto our mains, we discovered that they were really good at keeping our food hot.
As we’re both fans of lamb, we also couldn’t resist the Spicy Lamb Chops (£3.65). A portion proved to be four/five lamb chops, and, although they were quite thin, it was a good size for the price. The chops had been marinated in spices and cooked to the point that there was a little charring. Spice levels were good – just enough to add flavour, but not so much to overpower the lamb.
Moving onto mains and our Tarka Daal (£6.45) was incredibly luscious! It had good consistency and texture as the lentils hadn’t been cooked to the point of breaking – something I need to bear in mind when cooking at home. Lamb Handi (£6.50) was another dish from the specials and, described as a traditional on the bone lamb curry (and it is always lamb, never mutton at Abdul’s), it was a flavoursome and rich curry. I really do wonder why so many people are squeamish about eating meat on the bone – this is where all the flavour is.
The side of Pilau rice (£1.50) was fine, but its arrival did make me realise that we could have done with a plate or dish each so that we could share everything. Having said that, with such a relaxed vibe to the diner, we were equally happy just digging in – groups of friends may think otherwise.
In terms of the sundries, the Naan Breads were the highlights. Tandoori garlic naan (£1.50) was light and fluffy with a good level of flavour. But it was the Pashawari Naan (£1.95) that really impressed. Although we hadn’t ordered it, Ghulam insisted on us trying one, and I’m glad he did. Served hot, presumably fresh from the oven, it was stunning. Packed with pistachios and flavoured with almond oil and cardamom, Ghulam says that he loses money on each one, but he’s determined to make it right and keep it affordable.
Stuffed, we were ready to leave, but Ghulam again insisted that we try a dessert. Lemon and ginger cheesecake is made offsite, but with ingredients chosen by Abdul’s. To be honest, we were too full to enjoy it and the only thing I would say is that it wasn’t as zingy as I like – not that it ever stood a chance with our bulging bellies!
We really enjoyed our experience at Abdul’s. The atmosphere is relaxed and easy and the food is spot on – especially the naans. In fact, I’m already planning a return visit.