I remember the days when TV only had 4 channels and my Sundays rotated around watching Italian football and Masterchef. Each week I would pay scant attention until Lloyd Grossman came to his final long winded conclusion to the show. The winners were announced after the judges had “deliberated, cogitated and digested”.
Thank goodness for the revamp of Masterchef in 2005, where I was introduced to a mix of traditional and modern cooking techniques such as sous-vide, confit, sauteing and searing. I was taught the importance of high quality produce and perfection of technique.
The food produced at the Michelin starred restaurants visited during the latter stages of the competition made me wonder when we would finally have a halal restaurant serving similar food with an eye for the finer details. So when I heard rave reviews about Cona from friends and family, my mind was made up. Bring on Bradford!! Yes……Bradford !!
Ethically sourced French Foie Gras from Corn Fed Duck, with Duck Ham and Burnt Orange puree. (£7.95)
I had a massive dilemma about whether to try foie gras as I had heard about the horrific force feeding of ducks in the quest to produce perfect duck liver. However, my fears were allayed by the owner of Cona who is very passionate about his food and explained that the foie gras is ethically sourced from France.
The foie gras had a very subtle taste of liver. It was silky smooth, yet rich and buttery and just melted in my mouth. The duck ham provided a gamey tone to the dish, while the burnt orange puree provided a sharp fruity twist which helped cut through the richness of this amazing starter.
50 day aged Kobe Beef Rib Eye Steak served with triple cooked chips and beef jus (£39.95)
Kobe Beef is a special strain of Wagyu Beef, and is renowned for its rich flavour and tenderness. The Kobe Ribeye has an even distribution of fat marbling throughout the steak, resulting in a super soft texture without the fibrous texture or gristle associated with lower quality beef.
Served medium and unashamedly pink, the Kobe Ribeye was ultra tender, moist and flavoursome. We didn’t even need the steak knife Cona provided.
The glossy beef jus had a deeply rich flavour and was a perfect accompaniment for the steak. The triple cooked chips were super crunchy with a pillowy soft centre.
The owner explained that the the cattle used for Kobe beef are well fed on the finest water, grass and grains. They are imported from the world famous Tetsuya House, with Muslim staff handling the beef so there is no chance of cross contamination.
35 Day aged Native Cumbrian Bavette Steak served with asparagus and drizzled with a garlic and chive emulsion (£19.95)
The Bavette is a cheaper cut of beef which is underused and unappreciated but is packed with flavour and texture. The beef is naturally reared on the best water, grass and pastures of Cumbria which results is a beautifully marbled bavette steak. It is then aged on the bone for 35 days to intensify its flavour.
It was served medium rare.. Pink and Juicy! Unlike the Kobe Rib eye, the bavette steak was a tougher cut of beef, nevertheless it had an intense beefy flavour. The garlic and chive emulsion lifted the whole dish providing the contrast to the beefiness!!
Milk fed lamb cutlet, braised rump, scorched onion, mint, pommes purée (£17.95)
The braised rump had a deep caramelised flavour similar to low and slow beef ribs. It complemented the luxurious and silky smooth pommes purée.
When I saw the pink cutlets. I initially thought that they were too rare… But I soon realised they were cooked superbly well, succulent and well seasoned. The owner and chef confirmed that the lamb was cooked sous-vide to medium and finished on a grill.
The carrots and edamame beans were cooked al-dente and the quality of the fresh produce was apparent.
The vegetables are sourced from the world famous Rungis Food market in Paris.
Alphonso Mango Cheesecake (£6.95)
This ultra smooth cheesecake was topped with alphonso mango jelly and had a biscuit crumb. It was served with alphonso purée, vanilla ice cream and chocolate soil.
The cheesecake was made using Brillat Savarin cream cheese imported from France. It was super light, airy and not overtly sweet. The puree had a strong Alphonso mango flavour and didn’t taste artificial. Cona pride themselves of using fresh, in season produce for complementing their dishes.
1. Strawberry Jelly, 2. Strawberry Meringue, 3. Strawberry Panna Cotta, 4. Poached strawberries, 5. Strawberry Mousse, 6. Fresh Strawberries and 7. Strawberry Sorbet
This dessert was well balanced, with it’s sweet elements offset by the sharp sorbet. The crunchy meringues were a beautiful counterpoint to the soft strawberry panna cotta and jelly.
Overall I was delighted with my first fine dining experience at Cona. The owners are passionate about their food and I spent over 30 minutes talking to the staff about the quality of the produce. The owner told me he visits each supplier himself to ensure that the standard of the ingredients are fit for Cona. The prices are very reasonable for the quality of meat and you will struggle to find Halal 50 day aged Kobe Beef Rib eye and the other steaks at a similar price point.
Cona.. The Return for Sunday Roast
In between writing this review, I happened to be in Yorkshire for the early part of the Half term. The idea of a Sunday Roast at Cona was impossible to resist….
I’m not a pasta man, however Mrs HaloodieFoodie opted for the veg starter. The pasta parcel was thin and well cooked, the Ricotta filling was rich and velvety. The Foie Gras was as good as my first attempt, however I especially enjoyed the cherry sorbet element to the dish. The fruitness cuts through the fatty duck liver.
Sous-vide Beef fillet cooked superbly medium and was juicy and tender. Add rich, sweet and decadent pumpkin puree. Al Dente veggies, Extra Crispy Duck Fat Roast potatoes, Gigantic YORKSHIRE puddings. Deeply flavoured Beef Jus which I could happily drink! and you have the perfect Sunday Roast!
I’ve eaten so many chocolate fondants that were dry, thankfully this was gooey and luscious. The Cherry jam added a tartness needed for a such a chocolatey dessert.
Ultra smooth cheesecake was topped with Blackberry jelly and had a biscuit crumb. It was served with blackberry purée, vanilla ice cream and chocolate soil.
This was my favorite dessert of the day! A play on the classic Peanut Butter and Jam/Jelly sandwich. Smooth Peanut Butter infused parfait with a shiny, sweet and crunchy almond brittle. Topped with sharp and zesty Cherry Sorbet. A delicate balance of flavours an textures.
Finally, I was astonished to see the price!!
2 Course meal £15.95 and a 3 Course meal cost £19.95. Which is AMAZING Value for money!!
You will struggle to find food at this quality at this price point! Never in a month of Sundays! Even in Frugal Yorkshire.
Cona, 20 East Parade, Little Germany, Bradford, West Yorkshire BD1 5HD 01274 727747
Halal Status confirmed by owners.