Cona restaurant, Bradford's fine dining hidden gem
Cona, East Parade, Bradford BD1 5HD – 01274 7277747
About a week or so we were invited over to one of the UK’s only modern European restaurants serving high grade Wagyu beef and prime USDA halal meats. Tucked away in an area called ‘Little Germany’ in Bradford, you’ll find Cona restaurant. Upon first walking in we were quite taken aback by the uber stylish interior. From the outside the corner unit is quite understated with a small sign above the door. When stepping foot inside your immediately transported into a haven of chic, stylish serenity. “It’s a bit like stepping into a fashion magazine shoot” as my partner perfectly described the restaurant decor.
Once seated Imran one of the owners took us through the concept of the menu and restaurant, their incredible suppliers and producers and also some of his passion and travels, which all told exactly how Cona came about and the ethos they stand for. Having previously cooked a feast for David Cameron and hundreds of leading Muslim guests at his annual Eid party we were very excited for what was to come.
Before we started to decide what to order from their daily changing menu Imran talked us through some of the different cuts available. He explained how it had taken them sometime to find the perfect supplier for their meat after being disappointed with halal produce in the UK. Researching the supplier to the likes of the Burg Al Arab in Dubai, they found quality that ticked all the boxes.
Imran has taken huge inspiration from over a decade of foodie travels, which shines through from the menu and décor. From their imported Viennese work of art coffee machine by Victoria Arduino, to the globally sourced ingredients, no expense has been spared to create such a stunning menu and atmospheric restaurant.
The menu, even though small but perfectly formed had us absolutely spoilt for choice with such great dishes on offer. We were intrigued by Cona’s take on charcuterie. Sourced from the only Halal charcuterie producers in the world, a colourful sharing plate arrived with cured Lamb lomo and veal Treviso, fresh chilli, rosemary oil, aged Parmesan, rocket and marinated olives and peppers. Served with a side of homemade focaccia, garlic bread and delicious pistachio pesto to create your own mini bruschetta. The flavours of the cured meat really shone through and it was a different experience to enjoy charcuterie in this way.
We decided to share a few more starters opting for rock shrimp tempura in fermented chilli and bean paste, crispy squid served with house-smoked mayo and tender stem asparagus served with toasted hazelnuts and micro herbs. Then being extra greedy, barbequed black bream miso served with house pickled red onion and a side of miso sauce. Each dish beautifully presented and executed. The freshness of the flavours were a real testament to the great suppliers Cona use, the cooking techniques and also the chefs. The asparagus and toasted hazelnut combination worked perfectly, with the addition of the asparagus puree and micro herbs we were in veggie heaven. For me I’d say the black bream was my favourite starter. Another inspired dish from Imran’s global foodie travels, this time one from World renowned Nobu. Absolute perfection.
Another hard decision was which steak to choose from Cona’s collection of the best halal cuts available. From Australian Jack Creek fillet to Wagyu DA sirloin, milk fed veal T-bone and USDA rib eye, the choice puts most high end UK restaurants to shame. We opted for the fillet and sirloin, both perfectly cooked. The sirloin had an incredible outer bark from the in-house ‘egg’ barbeque and the fillet was one of the most tender pieces of meat I’ve genuinely ever had. Our additional sides raised the evening to a whole new level. Creamy velvety mac and cheese dotted with nuggets of juicy wagyu beef served in its own little casoulet dish was absolutely incredible. As was the creamed spinach with nice earthy undertones from the anchovy. We couldn’t resist ordering the ethically sourced fois gras to go with the steaks. Light and buttery, served on a bed of dark fruit compote to cut through the creamy fois gras. A portion of crispy triple cooked chips, creamy peppercorn sauce and wagyu jus finished the main courses off perfectly. Another great touch was the steaks being hand carved before coming to the table so you can all have a taste of each other’s dishes.
Absolutely stuffed from our feast but seeing some of the beautiful desserts arriving to the other diners we decided we’d take a few minutes then order ours. You could see Imran’s fashion background throughout the restaurant. Black out blinds, polished concrete floors, leather booths, fur backed chairs and contemporary art give you a sense you’ve been transported to New York or Milan but minus the air fare.
After a few minutes and a couple of sips from our mango mojitos we were ready to order desserts. I opted for the warm almond and pistachio tart served with homemade pistachio ice cream and fruit coulis. The ice cream more like an Italian gelato, worked perfectly with the warm tart. My partner opted for the baked mango cheesecake served with mango ripple ice cream. A light but rich dessert, again the homemade ice cream was perfectly executed and presented with style.
Cona really has put Bradford on the map of fine dining, instead of being a destination for curry lovers we can see why people are traveling from Leeds, Manchester and further afield to sample this ever changing menu. Served in contemporary surroundings by such knowledgeable and passionate owners we can see ourselves making a visit to Cona on a very regular basis.
Visit Cona’s dedicated Bradford restaurant page to view their menus, opening times and book your experience.