Imagine a concept that demonstrates the synergy between outstanding Indian dishes and traditional Gujarati embroidery; a unique space where creativity, culture and cuisine come together as one.
Prashad is set away from the village of Drighlington – a stand-alone, award-winning vegetarian Indian restaurant that could easily be mistaken for a house at first glance, which is rather apt, because dining here truly feels like home.
On arrival, I was greeted by two things – that delicious aroma of spicy eats and a warm welcome from Bobby Patel, the owner, who had many a heartwarming Prashad tale to tell and a beautiful setting in which to share his story.
The restaurant is super cosy and has a real feel of intimacy to it – even more so if you’re able to venture upstairs to Prashads’ private dining rooms. Bobby proudly led the way up to the room that would see my first ever embroidery attempt, and with a glass of chilled prosecco in hand I was able to really drink in my surroundings – from the magnificent mural depicting a busy Indian street scene, to the chandeliers sparkling as the light hits, offering a tiny touch of opulence. Ornate, bohemian-esque lanterns house big candles, suspended from the ceiling at each side of a striking, distressed-finish wooden cupboard.
I found my seat at the dining table, adorned with jewelled trinkets, cook books and reels of colourful thread aplenty, and that’s when the fun really began. The embroidery session was run by the talented Elnaz Yazdani and, despite my rather uncertain beginning, I was soon wholeheartedly invested, especially as she made me feel so comfortable with my lack of experience.
There is something extremely cathartic about the act of unleashing an element of creative licence in a place like Prashad; the gentle in-out, up-down motion of needle and thread, coupled with the sounds and smells and visions of India, is wonderfully unique and exciting. In an attempt to draw inspiration for my embroidery from the Prashad family cookbook, I spent time flicking through the pages, where snippets of the restaurant’s history were captured through intimate photography.
Bobby Patel sat beside me for a while as we explored the pages together. With a fond smile and a wistful look in his eye, the businessman shared the many experiences of his family, whom he quite evidently loves dearly. He talked of the way he discovered many a new thing about his hard-working mother, Kaushy, when they created the cookbook together, and he went on to explain very simply that the idea of a creative culinary experience came from a need to showcase more of the traditional Indian way of life than just memorable food. The vision is clear; the implementation is something special – Bobby and his family have breathed vibrancy into their dream and brought it to life.
After a couple of hours spent learning how to backstitch, satin stitch and French knot, I’d worked up quite the appetite and was more than a little bit excited to try vegetarian Indian food for the first time. Into the second dining room I went, taking my seat in preparation for what was sure to be a delightful journey for my taste buds.
The entire feature wall is covered in newspaper articles — all detailing heartfelt praise for this family run restaurant, and I enjoyed having a good read whilst Bobby poured drinks and talked a little bit about what was coming.
I’d heard that the food at Prashad was good, but outstanding would be a fairer compliment. For £39 per head, you can expect five courses of only the freshest, locally sourced ingredients and a distinctive menu that changes along with the seasons. The offerings are petite, well-executed and bursting with Indian flare and flavour.
With dishes such as a sophisticated open samosa, filled with broad beans and coriander, a spicy coconut dumpling and a unique twist on the curry with a light and crumbly crepe to accompany a tasty Masala Dosa, you’re given a real insight into the passion Bobby’s wife and Head Chef, Minal, has for her work.
My favourite of all the courses came last – a sublime baked filo parcel filled with pistachio, almonds, cinnamon and walnuts, with a side helping of raisin and nutmeg ice cream.
This restaurant has won accolades for reasons that are clear to a foodie like me. Bobby, Minal and their team aren’t afraid to get innovative with their menu, and what’s’ more, there is such a genuine warmth from the staff and an apparent love for creating a truly authentic, homely all-Indian experience that you almost feel part of the family by choosing to dine there.
Feature photograph by Proud Fox.
Prashad 137 Whitehall Road, Drighlington, BD11 1AT
0113 285 2037 firstname.lastname@example.org
You may also be interested in Stan Graham’s Prashad review here