Emma Johnson savours the flavour if not the fire at East Z East at King’s Dock
I HAVE a confession to make: when it comes to hot food I am a bit of a wuss. I love the idea of curries, the smell of them and the rich, creamy sauces but the minute my tongue starts to tingle or there's the merest suggestion of watery eyes or a runny nose, I cave.
I can’t tell you how many dishes I have abandoned, not because I wasn't enjoying them but because I was drowning in my chilli-induced tears.
It totally baffles me the whole spice thing, my husband can wolf down jalapenos while a girlfriend of mine eats vindaloo the way most of us would a bowl of vanilla ice cream.
I suppose one man's mango chutney is another person's lime pickle. I still have nightmares about the time I put a whole teaspoon full of the latter in my mouth seconds after a so-called friend reassured me it tasted just like marmalade. It doesn't.
Given my affliction you might think I give Indian restaurants a wide berth. But no. I may not eat curry as often as I eat carbonara but sometimes I like to live dangerously.
So it was I found my way to East Z East, the latest addition to the ever-growing portfolio of restaurants at King's Dock.
Visits to the Echo arena had piqued my interest in the place but when a couple of colleagues came back singing its praises I had to try it.
On the Saturday night we visited the place was bustling but we had booked and were immediately seated at a banquette style table in the centre of the vast ground dining room.
The first thing that hits you about East Z East is the opulence; waterfalls, brightly coloured walls, lots of gold, it seems no expense has been spared on the decor.
The second thing that hits you is the vast number of dishes on offer. East Z East describes itself as the "home of Punjabi cooking" and the majority of courses seemed to have origins in the northern region of India.
Traditional curries, or "old school favourites" as East Z East calls them, like kormas, madras, vindaloo etc., are here, of course, but so were dozens of dishes I had never come across before.
Refusing to let myself fall back on my mildly spiced fail safes of korma or makhani I resolved to be a bit more adventurous.