Get a taste of India on the seafront

DESPITE being in a recession, I know I’m not alone in saying I refuse to give up going out for a decent curry, no matter how tight money is.

And they don’t get more decent than at Tynemouth’s seafront Plaza Tandoori restaurant.

This is my second visit to the deceptively large restaurant, and as we entered and were once again greeted by the very friendly and enthusiastic Dud (pronounced Dude), I wondered why I am yet to become a regular.

Plaza Tandoori has recently started a new Thali menu on a Thursday and a Sunday night which we have come to test out – and luckily I made sure I was ravenously hungry so I was able to test everything that came my way.

As I sat and sipped my Cobra Zero beer – as I was driving – I was amazed by the vast array of food on offer.

For just £10.95 a head, the extensive Thali menu gives you a choice of starter, three, yes – three main meals, a rice, a side dish and a naan bread.

The main course selection boasts hot, medium and mild curry dishes, with a choice of chicken, lamb, prawn and vegetable – and it’s a menu where no one could be disappointed.

To start with I opted for prawn bhuna and my other half stuck with his trusty old faithful, the onion bhaji – both were fully consumed before Dud had even started on his charm offensive.

For the main courses I opted for a vegetable korma and a prawn almere – and the Dud gave me a chicken modhapuri which wasn’t actually on the menu, but was like a sweet and sour sauce and was completely divine.

It’s always a worry with korma that it will be so bland it lacks any taste at all, but it was both deliciously creamy and full of flavour.

But it was the prawn almere that really made my tastebuds dance.

My other half chose from the hot curry dishes – all chicken – with a dupiaza, jalfrezi, and dansak which nearly blew my head off.

The choice on offer is amazing – there is balti, madras, achori, masala – everything you could wish for and more.

For the side dish we opted for a sag aloo and a bombay aloo, and I had a mushroom pilau and my partner went for the onion pilau.

On top of that, which is already enough to make your sides burst, you get the choice of naan bread so we shunned our usual garlic naan in favour of a keema naan and a peshwari naan.

The Thali menu is a great way of testing the water and trying different foods you might not otherwise have tried – and if each member of your party chooses three different main meals, you can try all sorts of flavours.

The charming Dud is clearly well known to regulars of the restaurant (and there are clearly many), who revel in the service they receive from the friendly and courteous staff.

Plaza Tandoori is just what you want from a restaurant – the staff are polite, friendly, and comic, but most importantly they seem genuinely interested in their customers.

The food was delicious, and there was a great, relaxed atmosphere, and as the other half so delicately put it there’s even Indian music quietly playing in the background to make you feel really transported to the far east.

For bookings call Dud on (0191) 257 4344.