My favourite way to discover new restaurants is to search on Instagram. If someone has made the effort to take a photo of their food then surely the restaurant is worthy of a visit. Being half Indian I adore Indian food and am always seeking out restaurants that put a creative spin on traditional dishes. Hansas’s menu looked alternative so I was eager to give it a try.
The restaurant is owned by Dabhi who has been bringing Indian Vegetarian Cuisine to the mainstream restaurant scene in Leeds and Yorkshire since 1986.
Dabhi serves a blend of Gujarati Vegetarian home-cooking with touches of her East African upbringing and has won many awards over the years, the latest being voted, ’Curry Chef of the Year 2010.’
The restaurant was easy to find with fairy lights glittering outside. The decor inside was simple with drapes of cloth hanging from the ceiling and a raised seating area for more intimate gatherings. As you walk in the scent of spices dances through the air from the kitchen making you feel warm and welcome. Hansas has a really pleasant homely feel and because of that I knew that I’d be having a three course meal here.
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Since becoming vegan one of the Indian dishes that I miss the most is chilli paneer. I was delighted when I saw a vegan version on the menu although a little sceptical as to how they would replicate it. It turned out that they used tofu and battered it so that the chilli seasoning could stick. I have to admit that apart from the squeaky texture that you get from eating paneer, this tasted very similar. I wish more restaurants provided this option. I now just have to try and re-create it at home.
For my main I opted for Ringan na Ravaiya which was Kenyan aubergines, stuffed with spice masala, onions and coarsely ground peanuts. My dad used to make this for me as a child with baby aubergines. If you’re not a fan of saucy curries then this is a great alternative accompanied by puris, which are by no means healthy but they taste so good.
Finally for dessert there was an entire vegan section on the menu. This was a first for me in a non vegan restaurant so I had trouble choosing! In the end I went for hot Sweet Sev which was made with sweet vermicelli, cooked in vegetable ghee, with sultanas, almonds and cardamon. It was mildly sweet and not too heavy after the mountain of food I had already consumed. Being honest, I am not sure if I would choose this dessert again, but I’m glad that I tried it.
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Hansas is a fantastic restaurant with an array of different vegan options that you wouldn’t ordinarily see on a standard Indian restaurant menu. If you’re in Leeds and out to find something different when it comes to Indian food then I would highly recommend taking a little walk through the highstreet to the fairy light covered Hansas Restaurant. You can find out more about Hansas here.
Have you got any vegan restaurant recommendations for Leeds? I’m always looking for new places to try.