Kebabeesh is now an established part of the Leeds/Bradford restaurant scene, providing authentic Indian menus since 1979.
But where did it all start? The answer is in the culture capital of Pakistan and the ancient Mughal and Persian empires.
Our founder, Jay, comes from Lahore, where food is as integral to cultural enjoyment as poetry, art and music. Now the second largest metropolis in Pakistan, Lahore was once a seat of the ancient Mughal Empire, the Sikh Empire, and also the capital of Punjab in Mahmud Ghaznavi’s 11th century empire as well as in the British Empire. Its culinary history is alive with different influences. In addition, Jay’s ancestors lived in Afghanistan, so there is also a hint of Afghan/Persian-inspired ideas in his vision to create the best Asian restaurant in Bradford.
“When I was a boy,” Jay says, “I grew up in a household with a huge family all living together. I was very fortunate that my mother and aunts where all great at cooking and there were always people visiting so food was very important. Pakistan to this day is very self-reliant and is fortunate enough not to need to import produce, so fresh seasonal spices, fruit and veg are always available. None of this ready-ground, ready-mixed stuff. It’s all fresh and you grind it yourself and mix it to your taste. The recipes were handed down through the generations and of course there was always something new to try. My overwhelming memory is of real taste and it’s all mixed up with the sound and smell of Lahore itself. I wanted to capture some of that authenticity and bring it to a new audience. I think we’ve done that. I love it when people realise Indian food isn’t all about heat, it’s much more subtle. We’re still doing that now.”
Today Kebabeesh takes its inspiration from the finest culinary experiences that ancient and contemporary Asia has to offer. We focus primarily on authentic Indian and Pakistani dishes, but we’re always innovating. The subtle tastes of Thailand, the best of ancient Kabul and the fine dining of modern day Dubai have all found their way into a Kebabeesh special.