Masala is a restaurant I have always wanted to try out and tonight I finally got the chance, centrally located on the High Street in Newport, Masala is easy to find; just look for the stunning listed Georgian Town House right in the centre of town.
Parking is available in the car park behind the restaurant but we found that there were plenty of parking spaces on the street right outside the restaurant.
Inside the interior retains much of the buildings period charm combined with a fresh contemporary décor. I was surprised to discover that between the two dining rooms Masala can seat up to 100 people, although it doesn’t feel at all busy or crowded as the restaurant has such a light and airy feel.
Our welcoming waiter showed us to a table next to one of the large picture windows overlooking the high street, the perfect place for watching the world go by between courses!
We ordered an appetiser of popadoms and a pickle tray and drinks from the selection of soft drinks on offer, the restaurant isn’t licensed to serve alcohol but you are free to bring your own alcoholic drinks with you and there is even an off licence a short walk away.
The popadoms arrived quickly and were lovely and crisp, they came served with a delicious fresh chopped onion salad, mint yoghurt dip, sweet mango chutney, tangy lime Pickle and a spicy chilli pickle, needless to say they didn’t last long!
To start I opted for the Vegetable Samosa’s and Aaron ordered the vegetable Stuffed Pepper. My samosa’s came beautifully presented with a fresh salad and a beautiful carved tomato rose which was a lovely finishing touch, the lightly spiced mixed vegetable filling was encased in a crisp flaky filo pastry, the portion size was just the right amount to whet the appetite ready for the main course.
Aaron’s starter also arrived beautifully presented with an attractive side salad, the whole green pepper was stuffed with delicious spiced mixed vegetables, he really enjoyed it.
The main course was so difficult to chose as there was simply so many options on the menu, cleverly they offer several ‘combination dishes’ for those who are truly undecided, these come with two half portions of selected currys, pilau rice and a plain Naan Bread, Aaron opted for the King Prawn Masala and Chicken Passanda Combination dish.
After much deliberation I went for a Tandoori Chicken Dansak, with Pilau Rice and a PeshwarI naan bread. When the meals arrived, you could tell they had been freshly prepared to order, they looked and smelled fantastic.
The currys, rice and bread were served in separate serving dishes, with a large plate to dish out onto to, which is perfect if you like to order a couple of dishes to share between a group. The portion sizes were ample, in fact we could easily have shared a rice and naan bread between the two of us, so if you have a larger appetite you certainly wont leave Masala disappointed or hungry.
Dansak is my curry of choice and I was very impressed with this one, the Tandoori chicken was just delicious, it was so tender and full of flavour. The sauce was thick and rich, with just the right amount of kick, the chunks of juicy pineapple adding the sweetness to this ‘hot, sweet and sour’ curry dish.
Aarons combination dish looked really attractive served in a double serving dish, the vibrant red King prawn Masala included lots of large succulent prawns in a delicious creamy Masala sauce. The Chicken Pasanda was full of tender pieces of chicken in a mild buttery sauce.
The pilau rice was light and fluffy and both of our Naan breads were golden and perfectly cooked, my peshwari naan was the perfect combination of savoury and sweet with it’s delicious characteristic coconut and almond filling.
We were both very satisfied after our mains but felt it would be rude not to at least take a look at the dessert menu; needless to say we were quickly tempted! I order the Hazel Flute and Aaron went for the traditional Indian frozen yoghurt dessert, Kulfi.
My Hazel Flute came presented in a tall frosted glass, the creamy ice-cream was topped with rich chocolate sauce and several whole hazelnuts, it was a lovely dessert which I would definitely order again.
Aaron really enjoyed his first experience of Kulfi. I have to say we rarely manage a dessert after an Indian meal as they are so filling but he commented that the Kulfi was delicious, it was cool, refreshing and the Mango flavour wasn’t overly sweet, the perfect way to cool and cleanse the palate after a spicy Indian banquet.
Masala is a family friendly restaurant and they cater for all tastes, there are plenty of vegetarian options on the menu, several English dishes and they are happy to prepare smaller portions from the main menu and even provide tomato ketchup for the younger diners!
We really enjoyed our evening at Masala, the food was fresh and tasty and the service was friendly and welcoming, we will definitely be back very soon!
Reviewed by Charlie & Aaron Scott