Khai Khai on Newcastle’s Queen Street hosted an official opening as diners were welcomed back inside restaurants, and welcomed the chef behind the new concept to the city for the event.
Michelin-starred chef Alfred Prasad is the youngest Indian chef to be awarded a Michelin star and has been key influence at Khai Khai, having worked closely with owner Jaf Ali on the concept since early 2019. After two years of work, he got the opportunity to visit the restaurant in person as it opened to diners for the first time.
Jaf said: “Across Britain, Indian food has become a mainstay of consumer meal choices, whether in the form of takeaway food, chilled ready meals or the dining out experience. At Khai Khai, we’re pushing boundaries with all three. We are very excited and honoured to welcome one of the country’s top chefs, Alfred Prasad, to Newcastle.
“Khai Khai began life as an early concept in 2016. We had the name and an outline idea to recreate the flavours and retro comfort of my grandmother’s kitchen, but as a culinary concept we wanted to push it further. Where else would we look to for that level of expertise but to one name, chef Prasad. He has elevated the reputation of British Indian food throughout the world and to have Alfred involved is amazing.”
Alfred added: “I met Jaf in London back in 2019 and it truly was a meeting of minds. I instantly bought into his vision to create a path breaking and elevating the dining experience in Newcastle. The initial brief was based on traditional wood-fired stoves where smoke played an important part in the preparation of the food. We pushed that imagery further and the concept Smoke Play and our food story was born. To bring smoke play to life we use tandoor ovens but also a Josper oven, which enhances the smokiness of the food cooked in it.
“We have created a menu that includes small plates, smoke plates (using the tandoor and Josper oven) and heritage dishes – our twist on the classic dishes of the Indian sub-continent, with our own signature flair using charcoal. My philosophy of heritage, health and happiness reflects in our compact and eclectic menu. I am particularly proud of our extensive plant-based offerings, which brings a great balance to our food offering.”
As well as fresh seafood, organic poultry and meat, vegan and plant-based dishes are heavily featured. Speaking about his favourite dishes on the menu, chef Prasad added: “That’s a tough one, but I would say the Smoked aubergine, and Josper lamb chops. The intense smokiness created by the Josper oven makes them even more special.
“It’s been a pleasure going on this extraordinary journey with the Khai Khai team, from conceptualising the whole idea to seeing it come to life. I am truly proud to present a unique Indian dining experience to Newcastle and be a part of this urban legacy.”
Pictured: Jaf Ali and Alfred Prasad