A new Indian restaurant on Jesmond’s Osborne Road. Having enjoyed huge success at the Beacon on Westgate Road, it’s now up and running and ready for 2018, ready to give the people of Jesmond a true taste of southern India, representing a typical ‘tiffin’ canteen – something a little bit different to your usual Indian restaurant experience.
A light, lofty feel – and the perfect place for relaxed dining. The walls are painted pale blue and grey and there are large windows that light up the space beautifully. A fiery marigold bar brings a welcomed spark of colour that represents celebration or the welcome of an important person in India. We stopped by one night and found the place twinkling thanks to the cosy, candlelit tables.
The restaurant’s cocktail list serves up Indian takes on the classics. We went for the Madras Mule (£6.95), which was tantalising on the tongue – a combination of spicy and sweet. The perfect measures of vodka, lime and ginger beer you’d expect in a Moscow Mule, but with a chilli kick that makes it stand out from the crowd. Our chum went for the Kaapi Martini (£7.50) – essentially an espresso martini but with fresh Indian coffee. The bar staff mix the drinks using a non-centrifugal sugar called ‘jaggery’, enabling them to serve more ‘natural’, less-than-sickly-sweet versions of your favourite tipples. You can also grab a light Pilsner – brewed over at Wylam Brewery – or opt for wine. There’s tons to choose from.
Prepare yourself for a truly authentic feast – and nothing like the takeaway kind. You won’t be find any side orders of rice or naan bread on the menu and there isn’t a chicken tikka masala in sight – but trust us when we say that they were not a miss. Inspired by the founders and owners, Mathen Ganesan and Sudharsan Murugavel’s, foodie, South Indian roots, the menu is packed with lesser-known dishes, sides, sauces and mains – things like ‘dosas’ (new to us) – essentially thin and crispy crepes, made from a fermented batter of de-husked black lentils and rice. Millions of these delicious (and healthier) little treats are eaten every day in India for breakfast, lunch and dinner – and we fell in love with the concept. They can – and are – filled with all sorts of pleasing ingredients. All dishes have been designed to be lighter and kinder on the stomach, without compromising on flavour, meaning maximum taste but no bloated feeling come the end of your meal.
What we ate
Our knowledgable waiter took us on a culinary tour of South India, guiding us through the menu and making some very tasty recommendations indeed. He advised we share small plates – and so we obliged. We decided to kick things off with a scrumptious serving of Prawn Varuval (£6.50) – pop-in-the-mouth marinated spicy king prawns. The little fiery mouthfuls were cooked to perfection – really juicy and meaty – and full of zingy, garlicky flavour (tip: make use of the lime). Alongside them we shared a side of Gobi 65 (£4.75) – crispy cauliflower in a secret recipe spiced batter. Little balls of bliss, we say, and the perfect sharer between two. Eager to discover what a dosa tasted like, next, we ordered the Dosa Onion (£4.85) (a savoury pastry filled with sweet caramelised onions) and the DK Special (£5.45), topped with two sunny side up eggs, onions and coriander. Both were accompanied by rich chutneys and punchy relishes for dipping. We also munched on the Lamb Tuk Tuk (£7.95) – an agreed favourite packed with rice, flaky parottas (layered flatbread), onions, tomato and chilli. We asked for ours mild, but you can turn up the heat on the dish if you’d prefer – just ask. Lastly, we shared the Chicken Biriyani (£9.95) – an old favourite, rich in fragrant spices, with rice and filled with tender strips of chicken breast. The combination of dosa-dipping and getting our forks stuck into a few different dishes made for an exciting dining experience. Comfortably full, we had no room for desserts this time, but there are some truly delicious plates on offer if you can’t bare to leave a restaurant without enjoying something sweet. We’ll try a few next time.