Babul’s: discover Darlington’s brand new Indian restaurant

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A new Indian restaurant with a difference is about to open in Darlington and the anticipation is growing.

Babul’s at Barnard Castle has a good reputation for quality Indian food that doesn’t break the bank, and now the Darlington family behind the restaurant are excited to open another, this time in Darlington.

Located in Imperial Darlington, the space once occupied by Pizza Express will now be a great place to grab a South Asian meal on a night out.

The Northern Echo headed to Babul’s on Skinnergate to peek inside ahead of the official opening today (Friday 14th October).

The Northern Echo: The interior of Babul's restaurant.  Photo: SARAH CALDECOTTThe interior of Babul’s restaurant. Photo: SARAH CALDECOTT (Photo: Sarah Caldecott, NewsQuest)

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Zak Ahmed, Artistic Director, said, “It took fourteen months of preparation and we can’t wait to open up and show everyone what we’re talking about.

“We’re different because we don’t use artificial food coloring, we don’t use sugar, and we don’t use a lot of cream in our dishes and we’re also a nut-free restaurant. Also, our decor is quite unique, so I think we’re different from a lot of restaurants, not just Indian restaurants.

“We do authentic Indian food with some modern touches, like street food, and there are some British influences too.”

L'Echo du Nord: The bar area.  Photo: SARAH CALDECOTTThe bar area. Photo: SARAH CALDECOTT (Photo: Sarah Caldecott, NewsQuest)

L'Echo du Nord: A modern and chic interior.  Photo: SARAH CALDECOTTA modern and chic interior. Photo: SARAH CALDECOTT (Photo: Sarah Caldecott, NewsQuest)

Shuhel Ahmed, Commercial Director, said, “A lot of work has gone into this, so much work behind the scenes, so it’s a relief to finally open.

“Our menu is very similar to our Barnard Castle menu with a few changes. Our Babul’s Masala is healthier than most chicken tikka masalas you find in Indian restaurants. We also put a lot of thought into the layout of the restaurant, we want every table.

“It’s a big part of the city, so hopefully more people will be encouraged to get out and try it out because it’s a big area.”

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The Northern Echo: A good selection of spirits, cocktails and mocktails is on offer.  Photo: SARAH CALDECOTTA good selection of spirits, cocktails and mocktails is offered. Photo: SARAH CALDECOTT (Photo: Sarah Caldecott, NewsQuest)

The spacious restaurant has an extension at the rear for private dining, a great option for evenings.

Very soon, the restaurant will be open in the morning, functioning as a cafe so that shoppers can come and have a coffee.

Ipads are placed at each table to order drinks only. The idea behind it is that it’s a faster way to order and it seemed quite simple.

L'Echo du Nord: The bar.  Photo: SARAH CALDECOTTThe bar. Photo: SARAH CALDECOTT (Photo: Sarah Caldecott, NewsQuest)

Echo of the North: Photo: SARAH CALDECOTTPhoto: SARAH CALDECOTT (Photo: Sarah Caldecott, NewsQuest)

The cocktail menu is also sure to be a hit with locals with drinks including; a Punjabi Mojito with Five Rivers Indian rum, passion fruit and ginger and with jaggery instead of white sugar, a Princess Jasmine with prosecco, lychee and elderflower, and The Sultan which looks like an espresso martini but with the addition of salted caramel.

L'Echo du Nord: Lounge area.  Photo: SARAH CALDECOTTSitting area. Photo: SARAH CALDECOTT (Photo: Sarah Caldecott, NewsQuest)

Zak said: “We have a welcoming atmosphere. It’s not fine dining, it’s laid back and easy going and good value.

The restaurant is named after Zak and Shuhel’s father who opened the Barnard Castle restaurant which was originally called Spice Island.

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