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Bradford - It's worth a try...honest!
Member Name: raynor238
Date: 07/04/01, updated on 07/04/01 (95 review reads)
Disadvantages: I looks a bit grubby
Bradford is a weird place. I do not live there; in fact I would not live there if I could help it, yet it a holds a strange fascination over me.
I was born and raised in Huddersfield, a typical Yorkshire mill town about 15 miles away, and even from an early age was subjected to the local prejudices about Bradford. The only time any child from out of town would visit would be for the ice skating (I think the other nearest one is Manchester) or for the excellent and constantly improving National Film and Photography Museum. With only 2 things to see and do as a child it is no wonder that the other delights are overlooked.
Admittedly, the centre does look run down. The city is in the centre of a few valleys and seems to collect the entire county's litter. I work at an old textile mill on the outskirts, and I have to walk through some of the less salubrious areas every day. Early in the morning the aroma can only be described as 'interesting'. The architecture is a curious mix of Victorian gothic and sixties monstrosities, and it seems that recently many have fallen into a simultaneous state of disrepair. One can only hope that when the scaffolding is removed, some of the former splendour has been restored.
I can't write about Bradford without mentioning the curries. Bradford curries are the Manchester United of the culinary world - they have the largest number of fans from outside of the city who have never actually had one or even intend to visit. They do, however, deserve their reputation.
The most famous restaurant has to be Mumtaz. This is a fantastic restaurant just on the outskirts of the city which unfortunately casts a great shadow over some of it's more central cousins. I will quickly recommend four others (in no particular order), all within 5 mins walk from the newly refurbished bus/train interchange.
1) The Kashmir (near the University)- this is a strange blend of restaurant and cafe with a real upstair
s/downstairs mentality. The same kitchen will provide the same menu to the restaurant upstairs (with nice chairs and tables) at a high price, and to the formica cafe downstairs at a VERY reasonable price. The curries are all great (and award winning) and the Garlic Naan is to die for.
2) The Rawaal (Behind the Kashmir) - a tiny little restaurant with a fantastic menu. Nothing really stands out, but it is one of those places that you want to go back and try everything on the menu.
3) The Balti Chef (Cheapside) - Everything they serve comes in a bloody great balti dish and seems to be bright red in colour, but they have an enormous menu. The Balti Chicken Achaar ranks as probably the best curry I have ever had.
4) The Shah-Jehan (Across from the ice-rink) - A lovely restaurant. You could take your mother there! Very smartly decorated, and the most unusual selection of dishes I have seen.
Anyway, enough about curry (I do obsess!). There has been a recent resurgence in nightlife in Bradford. Around the university, and at the back of the Alhambra theatre there has developed a thriving area. There are around 30 restaurants/pubs and nightclubs packed into this small area. Believe it or not, but people do actually now suggest having a night in Bradford rather than looking elsewhere first.
In conclusion, like any other industrial city, Bradford has its grime to contend with. It has its good and bad points. The people who live there are a cheerful and friendly bunch - it just makes me wonder that if they did not knock their own city as much as they do, then would the rest of the country?