A new Indian restaurant has opened in the former Tandoori Nights curry house on Gray Street in Newcastle.
Ayla at Gray Street is a family-run Indian restaurant that sets itself apart from the rest by omitting food coloring and preservatives in its dishes.
Restaurant manager Fahima Ahmed took over the management of the business from her father, Mr. Islam, and breathed new life into the venue with a new branding and menu.
Go here for the latest news live from Newcastle city center
Fahima’s father, Mr. Islam, had been running the famous Tandoori Nights restaurant in the city’s iconic location since September 1989.
Working alongside her husband, Director of Operations Shuel Ahmed, who is known to many as ‘Sam’, Fahima transformed the place with a complete makeover by Mark Howe of KMS Bespoke.
Fahima, whose father remains one of the owners of the business, said: âWe specialize in Indian cuisine which is prepared daily on site.
âNothing is prepared in advance; everything is fresh and colorless.
“You won’t see the bright red masala dishes that people are used to because these dishes are authentically original and also close to what we get at home.”
Fahima, from North Tyneside, continued: âSome people questioned him at first, but after we explained to them [why the colour isn’t the same] they adore it.
“That’s what sets us apart – fresh and authentically original ingredients.”
Ayla, which opened in early September, offers around 13 main courses as well as 11 vegetarian options on its menu.
There is also a range of traditional desserts, including Kulfi, an Indian ice cream, and Kheer, an Indian rice pudding, which have been “very popular” with diners.
As for the restaurant’s philosophy, it was the couple’s eight-year-old daughter, Ayla, who gave them the idea that their dishes are preservative-free and coloring-free.
“The whole idea came from our daughter who came home from school saying she shouldn’t serve unhealthy food and we shouldn’t put color in dishes because it’s bad for you, âShuel said.
“We found it quite inspiring from an eight year old to say that if you are going to serve food to people, you have to make sure they enjoy it fully.”
The restaurant, named after the couple’s daughter, seats 42 and prides itself on its key location in the city center.
Shuel said, âThe location of the restaurant is dear to the family.
“Gray Street is one of the most famous streets in Newcastle and it is a very busy place.”
The restaurant is open every day except Tuesday.
For the latest local news from your area delivered straight to your inbox every day, go here to sign up for our free newsletter.