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Yum! One of the dishes at Cookson Spice, in Chester-le-Street

Yum! One of the dishes at Cookson Spice, in Chester-le-Street

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I am a lover of Indian cuisine but I must say that I am uneducated in the various dishes on offer.

Perusing the menu at Cookson Spice was like stepping into another world. Of course they had the traditional dishes, from Korma to Vindaloo but looking at this menu was a whole new experience. We dined on three different poppadoms while we considered our options, served with delicious pickles - the chilli is a must!

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SAMSUNG

My partner and I chose to have the Chef’s Mixed Platter to start, which included a selection of sheek kebab, lamb tikka and batter fried fish kebab. Dan isn’t a big lover of fish so we asked our waiter if we could substitute the fish for onion bhajis - and a little later we were served with biggest and tastiest onion bhajis we’ve ever had. The kebabs were aromatic and tasty and really left us wanting more.

I did have trouble choosing my main meal because everything looked so good! I was going for “Jinga Badshah” boasting “Arnold Schwarzenegger-sized” king prawns but got the last-minute jitters and opted for the “Gengis Flames” (I think it was because it was going to be set alight in front of me that I changed my mind!)

Described as “an attention-seeker”, it consisted of chicken tikka, sheek kebab stir fried with chunks of onions, peppers and sesame seeds served on a sizzler. Dan chose the “Mix Maza” a dry, medium dish with king prawns, chicken, prawns and lamb cooked with peppers, onions, tomatoes and coriander.

Soon our food arrived. A shot of brandy was set alight and poured over my meal, creating a fantastic display and a beautiful spicy fragrance. Dan’s was served in a wok and looked delicious.

This was served with pilau rice (one between us was more than enough as the dishes were very generous) and the chef also put together a special dish for us which included spinach in a creamy coconut sauce.

Dan and I have a habit of tasting each other’s food and his dish was just as perfect as mine. We had some left over from both our dishes, a little rice and chappati. The waiter wrapped them up for us to take away.

We let our stomachs settle and enjoyed a creamy coffee (two to be precise, we didn’t want to leave so had a re-fill) and chatted to the staff who talked to us about their passion for creating new and exciting dishes.

On the drive home from Chester-le-Street to Ryhope we both started to feel that we could maybe fit a little more in so chose to eat the remainder of our meal, snuggled on the couch watching TV and looking for a date when we could go back to our little taste of India.

Cookson Spice is situated in Chester-le-Street, around 20-25 minutes from Ryhope. It was more than worth the drive and we have already made plans to go back. Next time I will definitely be trying those prawns!

Lauren Baxter