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It's the spice of curry life.

Byline: ANDY HIRST

Kabana 43-45 Trinity Street, Huddersfield, HD1 4DN

IN the early 1980s when I was young, foolish and had overdone it at the town's nightspots I'd wander home up Trinity Street.

Rare were the times that we'd walk past the Kabana takeaway without stopping off for some of the spicy stuff.

The spicier the better in those days and many were the times we ordered a keema madras to then regret it some hours later.

Times have moved on. Hopefully, I've became a tad more sophisticated. Kabana's certainly has. Although at the same spot at the bottom of Trinity Street, it has grown into a modern restaurant, yet keeps that open authenticity as you can see the chefs at work while you eat.

It's got a sizeable downstairs - extending far further back than you could imagine - and also an upstairs restaurant, ideally for large parties.

Flash plasma screens are on the walls and when we were there they had Bollywood dancing.

How do they move so quick? Why are they all so beautiful? And how can they smile so much? Still, back to the food. Owner Aurangzeb Khan, known as Biloo, prides himself on its authenticity.

Two of the main contenders here among the usual Indian dishes are the daigi and the handi.

Both are cooked in big pans to give them the special taste. And both the chicken and the lamb are on the bone.

I had to try one, so went for the daigi lamb while Ruth opted for the chicken karahi.

Before then, though, there was the little matter of eight onion bhajis to sort out between us.

No problem - they were small but, as they saying goes, perfectly formed.

Spiced with small pieces of potato in them, they had just the right kick to let you know you were in for something special.

Kabana has a salad bar with chic peas, onions, cucumber, sauces, and its own special recipe mint sauce. You can visit that as many times as you want.

When the main course came it arrived with a flourish and a surprise.

It was on a large metal platter with the two curries neatly laid opposite one another - covered in fresh coriander - and slices of naan bread in between.

The rice, well, we tipped that on too and got stuck in. No need for plates. Certainly no need for ceremony.

The metal platter is called a Tawa and is the traditional way of cooking curries outdoor in Lahore, Pakistan. As far as Biloo is aware, no other restaurant serves it like this here and it came about one night when he ran out of plates due to a large group and so served them their curries on the Tawa. "They absolutely loved it,'' said Biloo. "And we've never looked back. It has become very popular." Both were meaty - and both were powerful dishes. Some of the small pieces of lamb were on the bone, but most were off it and it was a rich, full-bodied, robust flavour. The karahi had slightly more sauce and was made up of a myriad of flavours. The pillau rice had a scent to it - nothing ordinary here.

What a great way to share. It's well worth going to try something totally different and reminded us of a time in Singapore many years ago BC (before children) when we went into a restaurant in Little India and were served curry on a banana leaf with no cutlery. It was hands or nothing. Of course, the graceful Biloo would never do that to his customers, but he is clearly proud of his restaurant and the open way it works.

Looking round inside Kabana it struck me it did look glitzy inside with its polished floors, mirrors and large pillars.

Perhaps this is the right kind of nightspot for me these days.

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Rating Venue: Kabana Tel: 01484 422940 Opening hours: 5pm until late seven days a week Children: Yes Disabled access: Yes The bill: pounds 18.80 Would you go back: Definitely

CAPTION(S):

EASTERN DELIGHT: Chef Suleman Khan prepares one of the dishes at the Kabana Restaurant, Trinity Street, Huddersfield (AC130809Bkaba-11) and (AC130809Bkaba-07) MODERN AND AUTHENTIC: Chef Suleman Khan and brother Aurangzab Khan lift the lid on one of their special dishes (above) and (left) the Kabana has grown into a modern restaurant, yet keeps that open authenticity as you can see the chefs at work while you dine (AC130809Bkaba-08)
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Aug 21, 2009
Words:786
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