Kayal, located on Granby Street, has consistently ranked as one of the best Indian restaurants in Leicester, and for good reason.
We found ourselves in Kayal on a bustling Saturday evening for a post-football meal where we were met with a smile and shown straight to our table in the back room. The restaurant is nicely decorated, and while I’m not usually a fan of high-backed chairs, it seems to work well in this restaurant. The wood floors, old-fashioned lamps and Indian-inspired wall decorations all come together to make the rooms inviting, warm and welcoming without feeling kitschy at all – quite a feat that a lot of restaurants struggle to pull off.
Kayal is a South Indian restaurant, so is different to the usual balti houses you find in Leicester. On the menu you’ll find an array of dosas, mild, coconut-based curries and a lot of great vegetarian options.
We started with the poppadom and pickle tray which came out with three different types of pickles – two of which were quite tart but equally delicious, and another that was a milder, creamy red dipping sauce.
After perusing the vegetarian options for some time, we finally decided to get the Kayal ‘adya’ (Thall) which is essentially a tasting menu that comes with a soup starter, seven different dishes, rice, two types of bread and a dessert each. For just under £18 each it’s a bit expensive, but you get a ton of food and everything is so tasty. I informed our server I was vegan, and he was more than happy to let the kitchen know. The only difference between the vegan and vegetarian option is that one of the breads is made with butter, so it is swapped out for a different type of bread. Otherwise, everything is the same.
Our soup starter consisted of a yellow dal cooked with coconut and mild spices, so it had a really smooth, creamy texture with just a hint of sweetness. It’s so different to the usual tarka daal that I love – which hits you full on with garlic and other strong spices – that I quite enjoyed the delicate flavors of this version.
For our mains we were given seven different dishes each with boiled rice and two types of bread. There was a spicy potato dish, crispy green beans, sambar, a mild coconut curry, chickpeas with tomatoes and onion, mushrooms and peas in a rich tomato curry and another nutty, creamy vegetable curry. Don’t let the little bowls fool you – this is a real feast! As much as I enjoyed every course, I could not finish my meal. By the time we were done we were too stuffed for dessert so canceled it instead of trying to force down another bite.
Kayal is a great restaurant for vegans and vegetarians as the food is delicious and they are more than happy to accommodate a vegan request. If you’re looking for a nice curry in town to impress someone, this is a great place to do it.
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