‘Passion project’ brings new take on Indian cuisine to Leeds

An ambitious Indian restaurant inspired by the coastal areas of the subcontinent’s southern states opens in Leeds this week.

Ma-Hé, in the Marrion Centre in the city’s central Arena Quarter, is a debut restaurant from founders Manoj Varma, a spirits consultant with property interests in India, and Leeds-based lingerie entrepreneur Mason Asgha of Delta Connex.

They have teamed up with chef Shyam Sundar Bhaskaran for Ma-Hé, where the menu takes in the cuisines of Goa and Karnataka on India’s west coast, Kerala and Tamil Nadu on the southern tip, and Andhra Pradesh on the east coast. Each dish will be cooked to order, with Lobster Moilee at £21 the most expensive dish on the menu.

The 80-seater restaurant will also have a 20-seater bar, serving small plates alongside cocktails and what is billed as the longest list of mescals in Leeds – thanks to Manoj’s spirits business.

He says: “This is a passion project for the whole team at Ma-Hé. Shyam is a first-class chef with his knowledge of the Indian peninsula spanning more than 20 years meaning he is a true pioneer in this style of food. 

We conceptualised this restaurant a couple of years ago and were waiting for the right time and location, as well as our local partner to launch. 

I consider myself a very passionate foodie with a vast knowledge of Indian peninsula food. I’ve been eating and cooking this style of cuisine for more than 35 years and have visited some of the top restaurants within the region.

I am excited to bring the very best selection from all five places onto our menu and relish introducing to the people of Leeds and beyond to this unique culinary experience.”

Manoj has pledged to donate a portion of his personal profits from the restaurant to the homeless in a commitment to give back to the wider Leeds community. The restaurant will also offer a 15% NHS discount and a 10% student discount to its customers.

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