On a cold wet winter’s night you can’t beat a good Indian meal to help warm you through.
After hearing top reviews about Yuvraaj in Sunderland, I headed along to see what all the fuss is about.
Located in an old Victorian property in Douro Terrace, Ashbrooke, the restaurant has a nice homely feel to it, and ample, off-road private parking, which is great considering it’s in the city.
The décor embraces the property’s period features while injecting a modern twist with funky, purple velvet seats. There was not a scrap of flock wallpaper insight.
Tables laid out with crisp, white tablecloths, add a touch of class to the eatery, and also meant a challenge for me - not to spill curry on it.
Seated at a table by a big sash window, we were quickly served by Monie (Monwar) Hussain, the owner of Yuvraaj (which means Indian prince).
His aim is to treat all customers like “royalty” and we were certainly made to feel special as he took our drinks orders.
As the designated driver, I went for a non-alcoholic mojito, which was refreshingly sweet, and my friend ordered a pint of lager.
When it comes to the menu, I never know what to choose. Popular dishes like Tikka Masala and Jalfrezi usually seem like a safe bet, but keen to try something different, I asked Monie for some help.
He happily talked me through a variety of dishes on the menu and I decided on a Hariyali - a famous Punjabi chicken dish.
Known as a “green curry”, as it’s green in colour, the dish includes a combination of green chillis, coriander, apple and spinach, plus a dash of cream, garlic, ginger and a pinch of sugar.
The sweet ingredients in the description would usually put me off ordering it, as I’m not a fan of creamy dishes, but I was assured by Monie that I’d like it.
And he was right. The thick, green sauce was a fragrant blend of herbs and spices and it had a nice warmth to it.
It almost felt like a healthy choice too, thanks to its vibrant colour. But that healthy illusion was short lived once I added a portion of nut pilau rice and keema naan to it.
The chefs heading up the kitchen have more than 80 years combined experience in the industry, and it shows in their flavoursome food.
My friend, who is a fan of sweet dishes, ordered Makhani, a mild and creamy, mango, almond and ghee dish.
Before our mains, we’d grazed on crispy popadoms and pickles, and also tucked into a starter each. I had crispy vegetarian appetisers and my friend choose chicken chatt, both of which were tasty and beautifully presented.
Sadly, when our mains arrived we had very little room left. Struggling to clear our plates, Monie offered to box up the leftover food so we could take it home.
With the savoury dishes prepared to take away, we managed to share a dessert of chocolate cookie and ice cream to end the evening. It would have been rude not to.
The coolness of the ice cream was just what we needed to settle this winter feast.
With our doggy bag in tow, we left feeling very satisfied.