My Delhi opened on the corner of Borough Road and Toward Road and an empty unit was taken and brought to life amazingly.
Spread over two floors, it’s a truly vibrant addition to the city’s burgeoning restaurant scene with graffiti walls, neon signs, an Indian palette of saffron, burnt orange, and bright blue and green.
There are plenty of talking points about the décor, from plasma screens showing scenes from the bustling streets of Delhi in a loop, including whistling and hustling sounds, to old Bollywood posters and hanging monkey lighting fixtures.
It’s a really creative use of the space that has had variations over the years, including Cosa Nostra, Funky Indian, and very briefly Cafe 420 (they’ve also sorted out a plumbing issue in the basement that seems to have plagued the previous restaurants there).
It’s great to see the new tenants making the most of the space in the new restaurant, or street as they like to call it, which has 140 hoods making it one of the biggest restaurants in town, perfect for groups and families.
The menu is an equally colorful affair.
Forget your standard kormas and masalas, this list centers around the street food you find in Delhi, which is where the chefs hail from.
They bring delicious spices and fiery flavors from their hometown to Sunderland to great effect, with options like spicy lamb chops, Afghani kebabs (a blend of Indian, Persian and Mongolian flavours, Amritsari fish and South Indian fish curry, 1950s style butter chicken, chili chicken, Rail Station Mutton Curry Inspired by a British officer who had ordered a milder curry, this is a food with a rich heritage and a story to tell.
The nature of Indian food means vegetarians are well served, too, with options like Manchurian cauliflower, smoked eggplant harappa and chana batora (chickpea curry).
It’s a true mix of dishes with street food platters designed for sharing.
We asked for a table selection. With the strong roads of Delhi, the Butter Chicken (£11.50) was a must. Recently earned the highest score on
BBC Two’s best British takeaway, which saw Mai Delhi win the Best Indian title, and it’s easy to see what impressed the judges’ palate.
With a slightly sweet aftertaste that permeates the spices, it’s a lovely mild dish and we can’t stop brushing it up with naan. This is seriously good stuff.
The crispy chicken momos (£5.70) was also a really interesting dish – a food worth talking about on the table. A touch of dim sum, the filling has hints of Chinese food while the fried coating and spices give it a crunchy Indian take on the classic.
We’ve also gotten into the 24th Street Fast Food (£5.95), inspired by India’s famous roadside Dhaba restaurants, a rich blend of creamy chicken and ginger with an added twist with spices, green pepper and black pepper. This isn’t diet food, but it certainly doesn’t feel heavy like some of the dishes served in late-night curry houses.
Vegetarian-friendly, Aloo tikka chaat (£5.50) is a crunchy potato pancake with spicy chickpea masala and chutneys. Again, it’s meticulously prepared: fried enough to get flavor, but without drowning in fat. A perfect balance of flavours, presented in a playful way.
Special mention also to the cocktails which also bring something a little different to the city. The Emperor’s Flower (£8.50) was a revelation, an intoxicating blend of vodka and lychee liqueur with rose syrup and cardamom giving it a distinctly Indian edge.
There’s also a great selection of wines, mocktails, and of course Indian beers, such as Cobra and Malabar IPA on draft (£5.25 for a pint).
Do you want to enjoy Indian feast at home? The location of the location, close to major roads, also meant it was in a perfect spot for fast food and there were plenty of flights on our visit.
But I totally recommend trying it in the restaurant first for a completely immersive experience.
The restaurant is also launching a series of Summer Delhi Nights, starting July 21 at 6.30pm. At £14.95, it includes a banquet dinner, live Bollywood music, classic Hindi songs, table magic and folk tales. You can book in the booking notes at www.mydelhistreetfood.com/sunderland
:: My Delhi Indian Streetery, Borough Road, is open Monday to Thursday 4pm to 9.45pm and Friday, Saturday and Sunday 12pm to 9:45pm.