When I noticed on twitter Dabbawal were advertising a ‘Free Lunch’ for the first 40 people to book I was straight off the mark. Not only has Dabbawal been on the top of my list for a very long time but the concept of Indian style street food was something I was desperate to try. My friend and I arrived at the Jesmond branch on a Saturday lunch time and were relieved to find Dabbawal offer free parking for their customers as the parking in Jesmond is notoriously tricky!
The funky venue is kitted out with bright colours, skylights and an inviting atmosphere.
We were shown to our seats and handed a glass of sparkling rose wine with a raspberry garnish – lovely start.
By this point we were very excited. We were presented with a set menu put together especially for the occasion and prepared ourselves for the appetiser; lentil & curry leaf soup. The soup was served in a cute teacup and smelt divine. The soup was light and creamy but had the underlining grainy texture of lentils which gave the soup depth. The soup shone with the intense taste of curry leaf but wasn’t spicy or overpowering – I could have ate a full pan of it!
Next on the menu was gathia, a popular street food dish, almost like crisps but made from flour instead of potato, they reminded me of bombay mix but so much better. The gathia was crunchy and covered in a mixture of spices with red onion, cucumber and coriander tossed in. It was very addictive I just kept adding more and more to my plate, so satisfying!
The main course was a grill plate, a combination of punjabi, haryali and malai chicken tikka, served with a mozzarella & coriander naan. The first thing I noticed about the dish was the bright mix of courors that seemed to compliment the surroundings! Chicken, if you have read my blogs before is usually something I avoid as it is almost always served overcooked and dry which frustrates me but I would order this again in a heartbeat. All three types of chicken were juicy and tender, I think if I had to choose, the haryali chicken was my favorite (the green one I believe, I could be wrong). The naan was a masterpiece, very soft and light and the creamy mint dipping sauce made the whole dish so refreshing!
Finally dessert; tian of caramelised plantain and string hopper, honestly I wasn’t sure what to expect as I had never had plantain before. The plantain (a type of banana) had a lot more bite that I expected, it wasn’t mushy like a banana, it held its form, the caramel sauce was so indulgent and rich giving the dish a really decadent taste. String hopper is a rice noodle and was lovely sprinkled on top. This was a real Indian desert, something I have never seen on a menu before but one I’ll certainly be keeping watch for in the future, it finished of a truly beautiful lunchtime treat.
Dabbawal really lived up to it’s concept of offering real Indian street food, everything I tried was new to me and more importantly everything was authentic and mouthwateringly delicious! The staff were amazing and with a restaurant in Newcastle, just off Grey Street, Dabbawal is definitely somewhere I will be eating again soon!