It’s not quite a curry mile and there are no Michelin stars (yet), but every one knows Ocean Road is THE place in the North East to go for a curry. Right?
Here are 23 things you’ll only truly understand if you’re a regular patron of our wonderful Indian restaurants.
1) Everyone has their own idea as to which Indian restaurant is the best – and are adamant in this
But there’s always someone who cynically says “it’s all just one big kitchen anyway”
2) Looking through the list of starters and deciding to choose something different, then sticking with the onion bhaji anyway because they’re amazing
3) Ordering a chicken curry and being asked if you want breast meat
Have you ever been out with anyone who’s answered “no” to this? What happened?
4) Not liking the lime pickle, but trying a bit of it anyway just to remind yourself you don’t like it
(Though there is something wonderfully sadistic about its soapy, bitter taste)
5) The worry of eating more than your fair share of poppadoms – and the fear of them being taken away when your main courses come
6) The legend of the staff curry
The near-mythical real-deal dish, whispered about only in hushed tones, which is said to be served to staff at the end of the evening.
7) The novelty (or suspicion) when you go somewhere where the raita is orange instead of white
Not to mention the places with pickle trays containing something other than raita, mango chutney, lime pickle, chopped onions, and that one which is like a lime pickle, but red.
8) Being out with suspicious older relatives who only order from the “English menu” – which always features scampi, omelette, steak, prawn cocktail and roast chicken
Though you are always tempted to get chips instead of rice, because Indian restaurant chips are the business
9) The slightly more adventurous older relatives who will only ever have korma
Again, tempting because kormas are good too
10) A sit-in meal from the special menu including starter, main course, dessert, and sometimes a drink, will cost you as little as £7 (and be cheaper than a takeaway)
...often much to the puzzlement of visiting friends and family.
11) The shame experienced when the waiter takes your plate away to reveal all the bits of rice and curry you’ve spilled and had hidden underneath
12) Despite their low prices, you will be treated with the highest respect, get a cloth napkin and all the trimmings, and have the door held open for you when you leave – even if you’re only picking up a takeaway
Sadly some diners occasionally don’t respond with the same level of respect after a night out drinking
13) Special menus which boast five courses – but rice and a half a lager count as a course
As does coffee with floating cream and an after-dinner mint or chocolate.
But you can have ice cream instead if you’ve got any room. (Actually, does anywhere still offer a half lager or glass of house wine in their special menu? We haven’t seen it for a while)
14) The fellow diner who asks for something extra hot – or claims their vindaloo or phall isn’t very spicy
This is just tempting the chefs to serve you a dish which will melt your face
15) When someone asks for tea instead of coffee, and they happily send a waiter out for tea bags
16) The number of different ways there are to spell dishes
Pelaw rice, anyone?
18) Ordering a naan bread that’s bigger than your head and nearly killing yourself trying to eat it all
19) Never being able to finish all of your food, and the shame of it being taken away half-eaten
Or asking to take your leftovers home in a doggy bag, and being tempted to have it for breakfast the next day
20) The regulars who know the owners and get a big greeting
21) Discussing the Indian restaurant scenes from Auf Wiedersehen Pet, Goodness Gracious Me and Rowan Atkinson’s sketch
These are just a bit too accurate, and show us we perhaps aren’t always the best customers
22) Being out with someone who orders off-menu – and the outcry when someone asks for something no one else ever gets
23) Going to an Indian restaurant that isn’t on Ocean Road and it feeling wrong
Or going to one elsewhere in the country and being intrigued when they do things slightly differently. Ocean Road is the true home of curry, after all