There is no shortage of amazing restaurants to dine at in the North East, each with their own vibe and take on cultures from around the globe. Newcastle has had a major culinary shake up over the past year, and Sunderland has been trying to nip at its heels for a while now, even introducing a rival Sunderland Restaurant Week. And South Shields, known as much for it’s stunning beaches as it’s food, has a plethora of Asian delights on the town’s famous Ocean Road.
But last week, a well-loved Thai restaurant had it’s relaunch and it isn’t on gastronomical hub Ocean Road nor is it is slap bang in the town centre; a little off the beaten track it may be but believe me when I tell you Orangegrass is worth the detour. Having been to Thailand on a holiday of a lifetime a couple of years back, their cuisine holds a special place in my heart (and stomach) so I take any opportunity to sample it again.
The venue has recently undergone a refurbishment and menu shake up and, as revealed to a select few on their VIP launch night, it looks great. Grand but intimate at the same time, it definitely invokes the traditional look of Thailand, with large artworks and ceiling lights, all gold embossed and luxurious. The room is dominated by a staircase which leads to a mezzanine with more dining space.
Guests were entertained on the night by traditional Thai dancing, as well as stunning vocals from hometown girl Annabel Pattinson, who serenaded us for most of the night, and impressive magic by Ryan Phelps.
The beef massaman was my highlight; tender pieces of meat that melt in the mouth in a rich peanut sauce. The tangy chicken was another treat, although don’t be fooled by the word ‘tangy’ – this is as hot as Bangkok in the summer. Other dishes on offer included green curry vegetables and traditional Thai salads. Dessert was sticky rice pudding with coconut milk and although a tad too rich for me, suited my sweet-toothed fellow diners perfectly.
We only sampled a few of the wide range the restaurant has to offer, and aside from their sumptuous A La Carte menu, Orangegrass also have set menus starting at £16.95. A takeaway option is available.
Another trip to Thailand may be pricey, but it’s nice to know for an authentic and well-priced taste of Asia, South Shields has got you covered.
Orangegrass Thai and Oriental Cuisine is on 7 Mount Terrace, South Shields, Tyne & Wear NE33 1PN. To book, call 0191 455 8555 or visit their website here.