Located in sunny Seaham, Samrat was warm and cosy inside – living up to its name as the restaurant really did feel like a homely dining room with comfy sofas and mellow lighting.
The staff members were friendly and welcoming, before bringing menus straight away and taking our drinks order.
Samrat offers a wide range of drinks, from an extensive wine list – with a nice array of different regions across the globe which I was impressed with – to the classic pint of Cobra.
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I think the food menu had quite literally every kind of Indian dish you could wish for, from a multitude of mild to spicy curries, to Biryani and even thali trays for those that like a bit of everything.
The restaurant even offers a ‘healthy menu’ with dishes a little less heavy on the calories.
What I admired was the staff’s knowledge of the menu, my partner likes to ask what’s good, what to avoid and nearly always orders the ‘staff curry’ to get the ‘full traditional experience’.
And although Samrat’s didn’t offer a staff curry, our waiter didn’t hesitate to give us some great recommendations and they did not disappoint.
We started with Tikka Paneer Shashlik, a chicken tikka dish cooked with Indian cheese and fresh cream, along with onion bhajis.
For a mere £4.25, the Shashlik was divine, it was flavoursome, savoury and moreish and the onion bhajis (£3.75) were HUGE, it’s definitely a dish that should be shared – unless you’re really into onion bhajis.
Next, we decided to go for the Chicken Balti (£5.95) and Lamb Lankapiaza (£7.45) with onion rice (£2.95) and some puri (£0.75), which is deep-fried bread similar to naan bread but lighter.
I would best describe the Balti as just simply tasty, easy to eat and I just wanted more – the chicken was succulent and the sauce was delicious.
The Lamb Lankapiaza would not be my choice of curry but for those that like spicy, it is definitely that!
Despite it not being my dish, I did give it a try and beyond the very hot temperature, the flavours of garlic and ginger really came through.
Often spicy dishes are just all heat but this curry had depth which was enjoyable.
I particularly rated the rice size which had plenty to share between two people and the puri was perfect, light and fluffy – a great alternative to naan which can often be a little heavy.
The restaurant itself is beautifully decorated with patterned sofas and china elephants while the quiet music adds to the ambience.
It’s ideally located two minutes from a free car park and just up from Church Street – as well as also being just a stones throw away from Seaham harbour.
Samrat offers fantastic customer service and delightful food at prices that won’t break the bank.