Bringing the exotic foods of Kerala to Newcastle, Ury have set about creating dishes that are inspired from the spice hub of the world. Ury, which is a fairly simple rig used to preserve cuisines for longer periods without losing any of their flavour, have two restaurants. This review is of Ury Newcastle on January 1st 2018.
Based on The Quayside, in the sole of Newcastle, Ury is a wonderful setting. I felt as though I was sat in a Keralite household with pleasant scenery and comforting atmosphere. As we sat at our table, I noticed the place was full yet calm.
Ansar, our waiter on the night, asked us what we would like to drink. We decided on the Chilean Merlot which was very light and was to be a great choice alongside what we were about to be dazzled with…
To pre-start, Ansar brought a very distinguished basket of light and crispy treats that are popular from Kerala. Achappam – rosette style savoury cookies, Pappada Vadai – wafer fritters, Banana Chips, Murukku – a crunchy swirl and poppadoms. They were all edible for anyone with a gluten allergy as they were made with rice flour or chickpea flour. Served with various forms of pickle such as fish, chicken, lemon, vegetable and a coriander chutney, they went down a treat. Slick, with a sweet tang, the pickle was my pick of the condiments. It was a brilliant unusual start. It’s good to be that little bit different. Ury had me enticed and wanting more.
For our starters, we had the Kerala Fish Fry – Kingfish marinated in a spicy paste made of ginger, green chillies and coriander, then shallow fried in the traditional fashion. Served by its side, was the masala dosa, which is made using rice, black gram, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, potatoes, onion, green chillies, curry leaves, and turmeric. It was like a footlong pancake wrapped up with peppery potato and onion inside. It also came with three sauces of tamarind, coconut and ginger spice. The whole array of food before my eyes looked too good to eat. I was in my element and I hadn’t even eaten anything. Ury made me excited. The power of any good restaurant is to be unique and create excitement. Ury did that. Like a pretty flower settled on my plate, it felt wrong to dismantle it. The fish carried punch and kick and the salad was lovely and crisp. The sauteed onions deserve a mention; I could’ve eaten a plate full of those. The masala dosa, filled with its intense golden mash mixed amazingly with the fish and salad.
As we were fascinated and intrigued by Ury so far, we decided test out a few options from the main menu. First, we had the deep fried lamb which was an essential item of Kerala and my oh my was it special. Boneless cubes of lamb and dry cooked in turmeric water, then stir fried with an abundance of black pepper, curry leaves, and finely sliced fresh coconut slivers. Hungry for more, we also ordered Cheena Chatty Meen Curry – a popular delicacy in Syrian Christian populated hilly areas. King fish slices prepared with tamarind and fresh spices in a medium spicy sauce served with steamed tapioca root, seasoned with curry leaves, mustard seeds and grated coconut. What a fish curry! Every element was on the money. It was curry heaven. Ansar, who was an informative genius of Indian cuisine and awesome teacher on the night, also brought us two styles of bread; the paratha bread and the appam (the curry comes with two paratha bread usually but as I’m coeliac, Ury made me up an appam). The paratha bread was a Kerala speciality of wheat dough layered and coiled into coir mat shape then cooked on the griddle. I was hugely impressed by the crispy, spongey, rice appam pancake… I could actually eat bread at an Indian restaurant! They both were amazing accompaniments to the fish curry. As was the nutty, lemon rice we ordered. Ury was on a roll.
To finish, Pal Payasam was our choice of dessert which was rice cooked in boiling milk with cashew nuts, raisins and cardamom. I’m thankful it was small but it was divine. The cardamom gave it a mature, sweet taste.
In essence, we couldn’t have asked for anything more at Ury. They were fine hosts, who provided a scintillating, mesmerising, learning experience of a cultural region unknown to me. Ury was a revelation.