The Best Curry in Newcastle
If you sit down in and open the menu in this restaurant, a waitress will come over and explain that the menu may seem ‘a little different’. And she would be right. Because if you were expecting to order your favourite Indian dishes here like Chicken Tikka Masala or even Chicken Balti then you would be very disappointed. Why? Because instead, you would be about to experience something truly special.
In Angeethi Indian Restaurant, Newcastle, I am greeted at the entrance with a traditional Indian welcome and a tilak marked on my forehead in bright red. Accepting a smooth mango lassi my fellow travel bloggers and I lucky enough to be visiting with the Traverse bloggers conference are treated to an unforgettable education on Indian cuisine.
Well-spoken and instantly likeable, our host for the meal, Priya, explains clearly and concisely what Angeethi restaurant stands for. The restaurant name, based on an old fashioned stove traditionally used in India, effectively symbolises the desire to produce truly authentic Indian food.
Feeling the ingredients, smelling the often aniseed like aroma and tasting the sharp, powerful flavours we are taken through the range of spices used in Indian cooking.
Surprisingly, many of the most basic ingredients contain antiseptic, soothing and healing qualities. Home remedies are used with the simplest of spices. This back to basics approach reiterates the way that cooking should be; an overwhelming love of the freshest, finest ingredients blended together in a harmony of flavour.
This is where I began to like my host much more. Expressly rejecting what Indian food has become in the Britain, Angeethi restaurant seeks to change the mind of the public about what Indian food really is. More than just a curry to be enjoyed with a pint, Indian food is a vibrant array of regional dishes that represent an entire culture and way of life. Greasy, brightly coloured and artificially flavoured Indian dishes are so often sold in Britain that I personally doubt that many of the population truly know what an traditional Indian meal tastes like, despite being one of the most popular takeout options across the country.
Treated with a Thali, tasting menu, selection of gourmet dishes I was overwhelmed. Each of the carefully selected, and finely crafted dishes had its own unique flavour, potency and moreishness. There was no bright colours or oil floating on the top; this was simple, delicious Indian food. From the crunchy Onion Bhaji to the slow burn of the Malabar Gosht and the freshness of the Naan as I loaded it with mint yogurt and lime pickle; this was something else.
Never have I dined on such a large meal (hungover or otherwise) and not only felt incredibly better at the end of it, but also not bloated at all. Due to digestive qualities of the wonderful ingredients used in the dishes at Angeethi, meals are light, and filling; even if you do eat as much as I did.
Despite never being a restaurateur before, Priya and her husband are two of the most passionate foodies I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Paired with adept business minds and a compulsion to provide the finest food without ever compromising on quality, I can only wish more restaurant owners were like them.
Whether the general British population are ready for authentic Indian food, and willing to give up the greasy takeout, remains to be seen.
I can only hope that other brave restaurateurs will join Angeethi in this rejection of inauthentic dishes that have become popular in favour of sharing the recipes perfected by generations of Indian households.
Angeethi is a glimpse of British-Indian cuisine in the future. Using the finest local ingredients, the most passionate chefs, traditional cooking techniques and a warm, inviting space this restaurant will, and undoubtedly should be, what every Indian restaurant aspires to be. If this means the end of a greasy Chicken Tikka Masala, then I am all for it.
Unable to describe Angeethi in better words I quote Priya directly.
‘Authentically different, unmistakably Indian’