WHEN driving through Fence Houses recently, this new Indian eatery immediately caught my eye.
Until recently it was the boarded-up Wellington pub, which you’d rarely give a second glance.
Now, the owners of Sunderland city centre establishment Naz, have decided to move premises from St Thomas Street to this other corner of Wearside and it already looks a welcome addition to the area.
Called Naz Haven, the building has been transformed into a large, colourful dining room, complete with buffet area for those wanting to pick and mix.
We were caught unawares when ordering drinks – Naz doesn’t stock alcohol!
Those wishing to have some though, can bring their own, something which most other diners when we visited seemed to know in advance.
But when all’s said and done, you judge a restaurant on what’s put in front of you, and Naz Haven couldn’t really be faulted in this respect.
The mixed tandoori starter I went for was plentiful and varied, combining some great flavours together with servings of chicken, lamb and pork.
For my main, I chose a chicken jalfrezi, and although I’m used to this particular dish being a bit more spicy, the taste of the peppers and vegetables were fantastic and left me wanting more.
My fellow diners were equally pleased, with one choosing for the ample buffet on offer and repeatedly going back.
The bill came in at a budget-friendly £50 for four people, including drinks (non-alcoholic of course).
A slight hiccup was that as I tried to pay for the meal with a debit card, the waiter told me that as yet the restaurant didn’t have a card machine and cash would be required.
Cue me legging it down the street to a nearby cashpoint on what was a fairly chilly night.
Still, these are teething problems that you should probably be prepared to expect from a restaurant that has only been open a matter of days, as it had been when we visited.
The service was very friendly and the number of customers arriving as time wore on suggests that those in the area looking for a good curry have found Naz Haven.
On this evidence, it looks like it has a decent chance of cornering a popular area of the market.