Meeting Simon has completely changed my attitude to food and I'm so happy that he has opened my mind and allowed me to experience so much more. As a self confessed foodie it's probably strange to think that I used to turn my nose up at trying anything new, couldn't handle anything even remotely spicy and would only ever visit chain restaurants.
As every week, month and year goes by I'm amazed at what I'm discovering that I love. Most recently I've developed a love for Indian food. If you'd told me last year that I'd be writing a blog about an Indian restaurant I really wouldn't have believed you.
Being very new to Indian food I'm yet to fully explore the Indian dining scene in Newcastle, so last week I thought it was about time, starting with one of Newcastle's most popular Indian restaurants, Vujon.
Vujon, located just off the Newcastle Quayside, serves up high quality Indian cuisine in beautiful surroundings. The tables are decked out in perfect white tablecloths the windows are decorated with stunning drapes. I knew as soon as we stepped inside to be greeted by the gorgeous interior and delicious smells that we were in for a very special evening.
Along with other bloggers and press we had been invited to a Media Evening to offer our opinion on some new dishes that will soon be added to the menu. Taken downstairs to a private room we were happy to be spending our evening with some of Newcastle's biggest foodies.
Apologies for the less than perfect foodie photos below, cosy atmospheric lighting doesn't always make for the best food blog photos!
Our meal began with plates offering a selection of Starters.
Angari Tikka - boneless chicken breast cooked in clay oven marinated in yoghurts, chilli and garlic seasoned with herbs and home made spices
Kathi Kebab - diced tender roast lamb, tossed with onions and tomatoes well spiced and served in butter chapatti
Veg Pakora - Onion, potatoes, mushroom, bhindi and paneer spiced and deep fried in a spicy batter.
I attacked my plate with great enthusiasm and particularly loved the chicken which was perfectly prepared and full of flavour. As a bit of a newbie to Indian cuisine I loved that our selection of dishes weren't overly spicy.
In fact we were very happy to learn during our visit that Vujon are trying to change people's views on Indian dining and are hoping to teach people who aren't keen on spice that there is far more to Indian food than hot curries. Indian cuisine is more about the flavour and delicate balance of spices, rather than trying to blow your head off with too much heat.
Vujon have highly skilled chefs who showcase dishes from across India using seasonal, fresh and locally sourced produce. Food is freshly prepared to order meaning that if you are concerned about the level of spice you are able to ask for the dish to be prepared just how you like it.
For our main course we helped ourselves from the most beautiful pots of steaming hot food.
Murgh Makhani Delhi Style - diced chicken breast cooked in dried fenugreek flavoured tomato and onion sauce
Murgh Tawa Fry - breast of chicken cooked with onion, capsicum to a medium strength
Railway Mutton Curry - mutton cooked with potatoes flavoured with Garam masala and black pepper
The dishes were served with massive spoonfuls of Pelaw Rice and greedy amounts of Naan Bread.
Being a nut allergy sufferer dining out can be a bit of a nightmare at times but Vujon were fantastic with my allergy, preparing me a separate plate of Naan Bread and being very informative about which dishes I should avoid. Being in a restaurant that understands allergies always makes me so happy as I can truly relax.
Simon and I both loved our first experience at Vujon and looking down at our plates when we'd finished we noticed how we'd both wiped them completely clean. There wasn't a scrap of food left and that is a sign of a very good meal!
Vujon is somewhere that we'll definitely be returning on our next date night, I can't wait to work my way through the menus.
Vujon invited us to dine for free in exchange for honest opinions on their new dishes.