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The Story Behind Aagrah Leeds
The Story Behind Aagrah Leeds

If variety is the spice of life, then Aagrah is the definition of a taste sensation!

From a restaurant chain and gin library, event catering and corporate hospitality, to a product line with international stockists, the Aagrah brand is bursting with flavour and innovation.

This year sees Aagrah celebrate its 41st anniversary after a quirky inception. Its first incarnation was a takeaway created by Mohammed Sabir.  While he and his brothers were working as bus drivers, Mohammed launched The Spice Pot which he operated from the back of a Ford Commer van in 1976!

This business was sold and, with an additional loan, a former plumbers’ merchant transformed into the first 40-seater restaurant in Westgate, Shipley. It wasn’t long before brothers Mohammed Aslam and Zaffar Iqbal were also on board.

The Aagrah Group now employs 450 staff and has 11 branches across Yorkshire, including Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield, Wakefield and Doncaster, with more planned. It has grown into an established name for Kashmiri cuisine in Yorkshire and a well-loved family-run business.

The Story Behind Aagrah Leeds

Naeem Aslam, Aagrah Director and family member, explains:
There’s always a family member on our sites! That’s really our USP. We pride ourselves on authentic, home-style cuisine produced fresh on site on a daily basis. We don’t treat our outlets as restaurants but as a home-from-home.”

“The menu is the same in all restaurants as consistency is key. All our dishes have evolved from family recipes, originating from Aagrah Group Managing Director, Mohammed Aslam. Once a dish has been perfected, it will stay on the menu. Dishes use ingredients that are locally sourced and bought centrally for all our outlets to ensure continuity of product.

“Our chefs are trained in-house, and there are expectations that all dishes should taste almost the same in each outlet (with small variations chef to chef, which our regulars notice!). To date, over 40 chefs have now been trained in-house by Mohammed.”

The Story Behind Aagrah Leeds

Not a business to sit still, Aagrah has a significant share of the home-dining market after launching a range of six Tarka cooking sauces. Fans of the signature dishes can now buy the same concentrated sauces as found in the restaurants, which are all natural and dairy/gluten-free.

Within six months, the sauces were in Tescos and now stocked in ASDA, the Co-op, farm shops and delis, and at Morrisons from this June. They are also exported internationally to locations including Libya, Slovakia, and Germany.

The Aagrah Group has had phenomenal success and been the recipient of 38 industry awards since 2000. The latest accolade is ‘Best Asian Restaurant Chain (North of England)’ announced at the Asian Restaurant Awards 2018 run by the Asian Catering Federation and awarded to Aagrah this year.

Naeem continued:
“We are always open to new ideas, creativity, and innovation. Our strategy is always to diversify and try original things, and it is this which has led to our achievements. We are working on new creative ideas with partners for something exciting and unique for 2019… so watch this space!

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