Cafe Bangla is a small tandoori restaurant in the village of East Boldon on the outskirts of South Shields, and is an unlikely – but altogether pleasing – find.
The restaurant has a feel of a large living room, with only about ten tables (probably around 50 covers). Given the spectacular contemporary cuisine, great service, and its listing in the Michelin Guide 2010, it’s not surprising that it gets booked up quickly, so do phone ahead to make a reservation.
On our visit last night (my second time here) I had dam baigan as a starter: a grilled half aubergine stuffed with vegetables and topped with yoghurt, which was perfectly cooked and served and a lovely blend of flavours.
I opted for a fish main course (fish – as opposed to seafood – can be tricky to get right in curries, and I find it rarely travels well in deliveries as it can go overly soggy, or lose its meatiness, in transit). Here, Chef Ali Hussain’s patrani mach was a good choice – so fresh that the flavours of the fish fillet (marinated fish, steamed in foil) were still sufficiently distinct from those of the green sauce (green paste, onion, fresh herbs) while also complementing one another.
Other dishes that our party ate, included haleem chicken (cooked with four different types of lentils and topped with ginger, onions, lemon, chilli and coriander) and Goan chicken (chicken marinated with aromatic spices, cooked with five spices, onions, peppers, tomatoes with coconut and goan chilli, and served with baby spinach).
…and it was a very satisfied party!
Service from the waiting staff was good throughout but it was really topped off at the end of our dining experience (yep, I purposely wrote ‘dining experience’ rather than ‘meal’ because that’s what it was – check out the beautiful presentation of the dishes in the photos above: every aspect thoughtfully done) when Chef Ali Hussain came to chat with us.
He told us with great enthusiasm about being presented with another Curry Life ‘Curry Chef of the Year’ award in London last week.
For his amazing, imaginative cuisine and for being so outstandingly jolly, Lardbutty is also awarding Ali with a very special Jolliest Chef award.
Until the next time.
3 Nov 2011: according to @AliHussain01 on Twitter, Ali has been nominated for the British Curry Awards 2011
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: Indian, tandoori
~ Address: 2 St Bedes, Station Road, East Boldon, Tyne & Wear
~ Postcode: NE36 0LE
~ Tel: 0191 519 0929
~ Nearest metro station (north-east): East Boldon
~ Website: Café Bangla website
~ Location: Café Bangla map
Filed under: Indian, LardButty food / restaurant reviews Tagged: | 4 / 5, 4/5, Ali Hussain, contemporary tandoori, curry, East Boldon, Indian, Lardbutty, NE36, NE36 0LE, Newcastle, North East England, South Shields, tandoori, Tyne & Wear