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TAKING TAPAS TO THE TOON


A relative newcomer to the restaurant scene in Newcastle- upon-Tyne, Dabbawal Street Food Kitchen reports that it is achieving considerable success by taking street-inspired dishes and serving them tapas-style. The restaurant, still less than a year old, is the brainchild of 24-year-old Johurun Nessa. She says, “We set out to make Indian food the answer to the question, ‘What’s for lunch?’. We’re pleasing the early evening and dinner crowd too and we’re delighted by how readily the foodies of Newcastle have embraced this unique concept.” The novel approach to spice dining provided by Dabbawal extends to its contemporary interior design and bright pink and lime branding which appears to have caught the imagination of locals.


“We’re delighted with how the audience has taken to it,” says Johurun. “People here are well-served by some superb restaurants and the love of Indian food here is as ingrained as it is anywhere in Britain. The nice thing about people in Newcastle is that they really enjoy exploring new things, and they have genuinely taken to our concept.” Johurun opted to follow her passion for food after graduating less than three years ago with a degree in law. She recalls, “I came out of university and searched around for something that suited me, and just kept coming back to the fact that I wanted to enter the business. My father had owned one of the first Indian restaurants in Newcastle and other family members are in the business, so it was an obvious route.”


Johurun’s market research told her that casual dining was the way forward, and she knew there was no better inspiration for her concept than her travels in Bangladesh, where she was smitten by the street food. “I wanted to take the concept of the fast, fresh food of the street and use it for the basis for a uniquely new experience in Newcastle,” she says.“So, we have taken traditional street food dishes and refined them, taking the quality of ingredi- ents and presentation to a much higher level. Our custom- ers love the fresh simplicity of our food and the beauty of the presentation and they’ve completely grasped the concept of grazing and sharing plates in an Indian kitchen.” The tapas-sized grills include Jaffrani salmon, Punjabi chilli chicken tikka and a mixed vegetable grill is among the best


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