Hansa’s Restaurant is situated in the heart of Leeds city centre, but easily stands out in the crowd of restaurants competing for space due to Chef Hansa’s dedication to serving authentic Gujarati home-cooking combined with East African touches. It is close to Leeds Metropolitan University and the O2 Academy, which makes it the perfect place to sit down and relax after a busy day shopping or even as a food stop before a night out.
It’s no surprise that this unique vegetarian restaurant has won multiple awards, including ‘Curry Chef of the Year’ 2010 and recognition in 2008 for ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Leeds Restaurant Industry’ by the Leeds Restaurant Association. The restaurant itself is warm and spacious, as it is split across two levels, while the fabric ceiling hangings and soft sconce lighting helps to transport you to an exotic paradise.
The extensive menu of beautifully flavoured dishes will have you wanting to come back repeatedly to try everything, but it also contains handy descriptions for those unfamiliar with the cuisine. The ever-helpful staff will gladly talk you through what to expect and recommendations, though it may be difficult to pick the one you want to try most! There is a balance of vegetarian and vegan dishes, with many of the meals being easily customised to agree with any dietary requirements or allergies. You could opt for one of the delicious and extremely popular Thali complete meals, which come with a variety of breads, rices and curries, so you can try a wide variety of the menu on one plate. Other tasty main course options include the Maragi-nu-shak, a spicy curry made with filling African beans. The dessert options are similarly tempting: the house speciality is the delicious carrot, raisin and almond Halwa, served hot with vanilla ice cream.
If you want to try recreating these exceptional dishes, Hansa hosts fantastic cooking classes for both beginners and advanced cooks, and you can even buy her cookbooks at Waterstones and in the restaurant itself. Nevertheless, nothing can replace trying Hansa’s unique cooking for yourself, and so a visit to Hansa’s Restaurant should be on everyone’s itinerary when visiting Leeds.