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Review: The Funky Indian, Borough Road, Sunderland

The Funky Indian in Borough Road, Sunderland city centre.
The Funky Indian in Borough Road, Sunderland city centre.

I have a love / hate relationship with eat all you can menus.

My purse loves them, but it’s my waistline that pays the price. Most are buffets where you end up piling your plate high with food of average quality – but then the Funky Indian is not your average place.

Indian tapas at Funky Indian

Indian tapas at Funky Indian

We visited on a Saturday, and though I was surprised to find this quality Indian restaurant offered eat all you can for £14.95, we certainly weren’t complaining.

It’s a deal (running as standard all this week and next before it becomes an early bird offering) that gives you the chance to try a variety of dishes from its tapas menu without busting your belly on one rich dish.

The decor is fun and vibrant with a jazzy rickshaw at the entrance and lively Bollywood posters splashed across the walls, which matches the informality of the menu which features choices for the curry faithful, as well as more unusual Indian street food options.

The restaurant’s been moved upstairs since my last visit, with sister business The Prosecco bar now in the basement area, giving the eatery more natural light – all the better to photograph your food for Instagram, if you’re into that – and making it more accessible for people with mobility issues.

Thanks to the downstairs bar, there’s a wide range of Proseccos available, as well as classic Indian beer Cobra for those who want a proper pint with their curry.

Back to the food and our waiter – who was chatty but not too in your face – advised us to order three dishes each to start, which we could always top up later depending on our hunger levels.

My trio included chicken poppers – crispy fried balls of chicken sprinkled liberally with spices and served with a cooling raita that were lip-lickingly good.

I also tucked into paneer tikka shashlik. It’s a classic Indian starter but this version tasted less processed than others I’ve had elsewhere, and had its mild flavour lifted by a tandoori marinade with chaat masala spice.

I also enjoyed the poori prawn roast, which featured plenty of prawns in a mild but flavoursome garlic, ginger, curry leaf and mustard sauce (which like all dishes comes minus the lurid food colouring you often find in other Indian restaurants) atop a flattened poori bread.

I was full but as there was no extra cost for another dish, I shoe-horned in a beef burrito of spiced pulled pork with red rice, coconut and cheese in a tightly-packed tortilla.

If you’re defeated, you can also take dishes home to enjoy once you’ve had a breather. People with dietary requirements are well catered for also, with a good range of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options, as well as plenty of choice for pescatarians.

The tapas concept may be something a little different compared to the city’s typical Indian food offering, but sometimes it’s good to step out of your curry comfort zone and try something a little funkier.