What ChatGPT thinks about Omar’s

On Monday, I wrote about Omar’s Balti House in Bradford. But before publishing it, I also asked ChatGPT the following:

Write a 300 word blog post about Omar’s Balti House in Bradford, West Yorkshire

So, here’s what it came up with:

Nestled in the heart of Bradford, West Yorkshire, Omar’s Balti House stands as a culinary gem, offering a delightful journey through the rich tapestry of flavors that define Balti cuisine. This renowned restaurant has earned its stripes as a go-to destination for locals and visitors alike, seeking an authentic taste of Pakistani and Kashmiri culinary traditions.

As you step into Omar’s Balti House, the warm ambiance immediately envelops you, setting the stage for a memorable dining experience. The restaurant’s commitment to authenticity is evident not only in its decor but, more importantly, in the carefully crafted menu. From aromatic biryanis to sizzling kebabs, each dish showcases the expertise of the chefs in delivering a true taste of the region.

One standout feature of Omar’s Balti House is its namesake dish—the Balti. Served in a distinctive, wok-like bowl, the Balti is a symphony of flavors, combining tender meats or vegetables with a medley of spices. The result is a harmonious blend that captures the essence of Pakistani and Kashmiri cuisine. Whether you’re a spice enthusiast or prefer milder flavors, Omar’s caters to all taste preferences, ensuring a culinary journey that suits every palate.

The commitment to quality extends beyond the kitchen, with Omar’s Balti House sourcing the finest local ingredients to create dishes that are not only delicious but also reflective of the restaurant’s dedication to supporting the community. The menu evolves with the seasons, ensuring that patrons can savor the freshest produce while enjoying a diverse range of dishes.

In addition to its culinary prowess, Omar’s Balti House prides itself on providing exceptional service. The attentive staff adds a personal touch to the dining experience, making guests feel not only welcome but also part of the extended Omar’s family.

For those seeking a taste of authenticity in Bradford, West Yorkshire, Omar’s Balti House emerges as a must-visit destination. With its rich tapestry of flavors, warm ambiance, and commitment to quality, this restaurant stands as a testament to the vibrant culinary heritage of Pakistan and Kashmir.

I have an interest in AI, and especially large language models like ChatGPT and their impact on my industry, higher education. We are seeing students using AI tools to write assessments, and even their personal statements for their university applications. And I think the above text is a good example of how AI is at the uncanny valley stage – it looks okay on first glance, but a more detailed critique highlights its flaws.

Firstly, I wouldn’t describe this as a ‘blog post’, even though this is what I asked ChatGPT to write. It reads more like a puff piece that you would read in some marketing to promote a town or city as a place to live or invest in.

It talks quite a bit about the balti dishes that the food is served on, although that could be because I mentioned ‘balti’ in the writing prompt. A major issue with AI is that they’re not always able to explain why they’ve done something. But it doesn’t mention the enormous naan breads anywhere – which, arguably, is what Omar’s is best known for.

And there are some things it has plain made up. The menu does not ‘evolve with the seasons’. Indeed, the menu doesn’t really evolve at all; whilst it has been reprinted a few times and the prices have gone up over the years, many of the dishes that are on there were ones that were available 20+ years ago. Also, I’m not sure about the ‘local ingredients’ either.

This all feeds into my concerns about the thousands of web pages currently filling up our search engines with AI-written content. How much of it has actually been proof-read, and is accurate?

In education, AI generated content is an issue for two reasons. One, it’s cheating, in the same way that plagiarism and essay mills are – it’s just that you’re using something written by a computer rather than another person. But there’s a quality issue too. I specialise in doctoral level admissions, and much of what current AI language models generate just isn’t at that level. You tend to get vague lists of things with few references (and sometimes these are made up), and if you ask it for a longer essay then it’ll probably start repeating itself. I’m sure if I’d asked for, say, 600 words on Omar’s balti house, it would have run out of unique things to say and just repeat the same statements in another way.

Most universities are now very much aware of both the opportunities and the threats that such AI models present; Turnitin, used by many universities, can now indicate whether an assignment has been written using AI as well as detecting plagiarism. There are simpler tools available online, such as AI Detector, where you can copy and paste a short piece of text. Indeed, when I put ChatGPT’s text above in there, it said that there was a ‘relatively high’ chance that it was written by AI.

I’m sure these language models will improve over time, and will overcome their current shortcomings. At which point, we may struggle to work out what has been written by a human and what was hallucinated by a computer. We’re certainly not there yet, and I don’t know how long it’ll take to get there, or whether it’ll be like driverless cars which seem to be perpetually ten years away. I hope this blog post serves as an explanation of why I won’t be farming out my blog post writing to AI any time soon.

Omar’s Balti House in Bradford

A photo the outside of Omar's Balti House in Bradford

I’m sure I must have written about Omar’s Balti House on Great Horton Road in Bradford at least once before, although I don’t think I’ve ever written a whole blog post about it. We went there last week with a group of friends, which is an excuse to write about it.

Bradford is not short of curry houses and has repeatedly won the title of ‘Curry Capital of Britain’ over the years. And whilst Omar’s may not have the renown of other curry houses like Mumtaz, or the likes of Aagrah and Akbars which have become chains, it’s one that is held with affection amongst people who have lived in Bradford. Indeed, I’d argue that it’s a rite of passage for students who study in Bradford. I first visited early on in my first year at university, and have been back many, many times since.

Omar’s is known for serving its meals in the same metal balti dishes that they’re cooked in, and for it’s enormous naan breads. No really, they’re claimed to be the largest in Yorkshire and typically measure almost a metre across. Indeed, eating one of these naans on your own, with a balti dish, is a food challenge – and the record is currently 35 minutes having been last set in 2019. Before that, the record had stood for over a decade.

Massive naans aside, the food at Omar’s is good, and despite being a small restaurant they do cater for large groups. They also serve some western food, which is good when you have an eight-year-old who hates even the mildest spicy food.