By Aalia Khan
A snazzy, sophisticated restaurant in the heart of little Germany Bradford was given the prestigious honour of cooking for Prime Minister David Cameron’s annual Eid dinner.
Cona, a restaurant which has only been open for five months, was selected to provide the catering for the prime minister and his 160 Muslim guests. The guest list included government ministers, community and business leaders, charities and public servants from across the UK.
Cona can be described as a bistro style restaurant with its modest setting, halal a la carte menu and cool atmosphere. From the floor to the ceiling the simplistic design shows that the focus is on good food and the simplicity adds value to the ambience of the restaurant.
Word of Cona’s fine dining spread far and wide and reached the ears of civil servants in Downing Street, who were on the lookout for a new and exciting experience for the event.
Co-owners Armi Ahmed and Oman Rana were proud to be the chosen caterers, and spent many days preparing for the event. Ahmed said “We were delighted and honoured to have been chosen by 10 Downing Street to cook our quality halal cuisine for David Cameron and leading Muslims from around the UK, we’re still pinching ourselves about it.
Since we opened, Cona has won plaudits from hundreds of diners and we pulled out all the stops for David Cameron and his guests.”
Rana also shared the same joy “We could not have asked for a better endorsement of Cona than for Mr Cameron and his guests to taste our quality halal cuisine.”
The menu was decided upon by Ahmed and their head chef Gavin Jackson, but must be kept top secret for now.
The Asian Sunday went to review the food at Cona to see how it had become fit for the Prime Minister and his guests.
As we stepped into the restaurant co-owner Ahmed greeted us instantly and showed us to a nice comfy booth. The clean table stood out to me and I quickly managed to settle into my seat. The attention to detail was visible with the chic decor and funky atmosphere. When I looked at the light, at first it seemed like an ordinary table light, however upon closer inspection I saw the intricate design inside it, which showed that a lot of effort was put into the finer details.
Ahmed was extremely helpful in advising us on what would be the best dish according to our taste buds. I opted for the Lobster Ravioli, Samphire as I have always wanted to try lobster, and my father chose the Fillet treacle cured, girolles cep puree, beef croquette sided with new potatoes. We both paired the meals with Cona’s own strawberry drinks.
The food arrived in good time and the initial appearance of my lobster ravioli made my mouth water; the saucy ravioli looked extremely appetising, and as I took my first mouthful I knew I had chosen the correct dish. The ravioli shells were sweet and tender and contained lobster pieces within them. The hint of chilli added to the flavouring of the dish but was just enough not to set my mouth on fire.
My father also enjoyed his fillet steak. Having been advised that the steak would be cooked medium instead of well done, he was slightly apprehensive, however the look on his face when he took that first bite was a picture. He held a huge smirk on his face and told Ahmed “You were right in telling me to try it medium instead of asking for it to be cooked well done, it just melts in my mouth.”
The attentiveness of the staff and their advice on the dishes showed that they knew exactly what they were talking about. The menu could be slightly confusing for some customers, as they
may not understand what the dishes consist of, but the friendlessness of the staff makes it very easy for customers to be able to ask them questions. The temperature of the restaurant was not appreciated by me as it was rather cold, and I tend to feel cold all the time; however that is something that can always be altered and does not take away from their fabulous food.
I can now understand why Cona were chosen to cook for Mr. Cameron’s Eid dinner as I left Cona feeling just as pleased as Mr. Cameron was believed to be with his choice of food.