The spice of life

Rosie McGlade enjoys a very modern curry experience at a new restaurant in Walbottle

Essentially, curries fall into two categories. Those you yearn for when you’ve overdone it somewhat, the stonking piles of masalla in bright red ghee-ridden goo, and those that appeal to our more refined moments, when we want something fresher and a bit more inventive.

While there’s surely a time and a place in all of our hearts for both, the most sophisticated curry monster in you will be happily calmed by the offerings of Ma’ida, a new restaurant and takeaway in Walbottle, west of Newcastle, which works hard to conjure together some modern, cleaner offerings from the sub continent.

Chicken Mango Ajwa, anyone? Here’s an bright orange dish for a change, humming with fresh tropical pulp and cream. It’s absolutely delicious, and I’d go back for that reason alone. Sweet but still spicy, and virtuously fruity. Simply smelling it was a treat in itself. Mmm. I’d like to be back there now, indeed (NB, it’s open at lunch times).

Anyhow, cautiously anticipating that can’t-move, post-curry feeling, the four of us first modestly select two starters to share (Golda Ghingree Special, two big spicy fat prawns, and Ma’ida Treat, a selection of favourite kebabs), and find that we needn’t have worried. Not a bad start at all, but we’re still hungry.

Along with the mango, the waiter recommends a further three, spicier curries; Jalley Jhul, tandoori king prawns with coriander which is said to be Madras hot (it isn’t quite), Chicken Shatkora, made with the shatkora citrus fruit, a brow-raising, tangy and interesting dish, and Jal Jhul Hansh, a beautifully-tender duck curry. We share two pilau rice dishes and a garlic chilli keema nan, which are more elegantly cooked than we’re used to.

Hmm. We’re not sure if there’s enough when it comes. All very tasty, very tasty I’d say, but where’s that bloated feeling? It’s all a little bit different. Here’s a curry house big on fresh ingredients, that serves up your supper with dignity. Another thing – don’t be expecting your usual four pints of lager. You won’t get them as they don’t serve alcohol here. 

That said, you can take your own. Which works out much, much cheaper, and they’ll happily uncork or screw it and supply all the glasses. Add to that the fact that main courses are mostly all under £10, and the bill isn’t going to make you wince.

They’ve made a big effort to make the place look fresh and modern with water features and coloured lights on the ceiling that change from blues to greens, and the seating is lovely. Really comfy, ten out of ten for that. They’re also a really nice staff, ready with a smile and a few interesting anecdotes if you’ll hear them.

So. No hangover, not broken zipper, no squabbling over the bill. Dollop of ghee? Not tonight, thanks. Ma’ida is a curry house for your mature side, and a very good one at that.

Ma’ida Table Spread, Hexham Road, Walbottle, Newcastle, NE15 9SR, tel 0191 267 0987 / 0191 229 1177,

In a jam
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