On Gosforth’s local High Street, New New Bengal is a contemporary Indian dining room serving Bengal specials. Warmly greeted, we are taken to our table in the bright and modern restaurant, which seems to be full of regulars. We take this to be a good sign.
We order a gin and tonic and browse the menu, which offers a wide range of authentic Indian dishes. Tonight we’re craving the best classics, so order Bhuna prawn puri, onion bhajis and four popadoms. Before the popadoms arrive at the table we’re presented with an appetiser; a combination of Bombay mix, puffed rice, nuts, onions and a secret ingredient. It’s the perfect pre-starter snack and whets our appetite for what’s to come.
The popadoms are perfect, not too greasy or too crispy, as are the range of chutneys and pickles served alongside them. My dining partner dives into the lime pickle and assures me it me it meets her high standards – she’s a seasoned professional when it comes to curry, so I take her word for it – but with my sweeter tooth I stick to the mango chutney, which is also delicious.
Our starters arrive promptly, and my dining partner tackles two of the biggest onion bhajis I’ve ever seen, while I begin to load my puri bread with the plump and juicy prawns, both dishes have been plated beautifully. We’ve soon cleared our plates and await the main event. The offering here ranges from tandoori and grilled specialities to traditional classics, but I play it safe with a chicken tikka masalla. My dining partner decides to stray from her usual order of chicken korma to try something just as mild and creamy but slightly more fruity, chicken neerala. To accompany our mains we agree on a garlic naan and mushroom rice. Our waiter notes that we’ve both ordered fairly mild curries and adds a side with a small kick to our order, to balance out the flavours and spices.
My chicken tikka masalla is creamier than expected but packed with flavour, and our chef’s special of chicken and onions fried in spices, adds the perfect punch. My dining partner’s chicken neerala arrives, giant slices of chicken in a creamy, fruity sauce topped with mango chunks. We plate ourselves up a portion of each of the dishes, soak up the sauces with the fluffy garlic naan whilst taking in the buzz of New New Bengal’s Friday night atmosphere. We’ve indulged in appetisers, pre-starters, mains and plenty of sides, so with no room for dessert we make our way home more than satisfied – and with our left-overs firmly in hand.
What we expected: A Friday-night curry
What we got: Beautifully-presented, delicious Indian dishes
What we wish we’d tried: The New New Bengal BIG Grill
New New Bengal
232 High Street, Gosforth NE3 1HH