Hollywood ‘A’ lister Harrison Ford has been causing a stir in the north-east and is apparently not letting his fame get in the way of mingling with the locals.
Harrison is in the region filming the fifth instalment of the hugely popular Indian Jones series. The 78-year-old actor is currently filming at Bamburgh castle before he is expected to move on to other locations in Northumberland.
Since arriving in the north-east Harrison been seen cycling around Tynesidw, popping into a local café and seen wearing cycling gear at The Ship’s Cat restaurant on North Shield’s Fish Quay.
He has now popped into Newcastle’s newest Indian restaurant, Khai Khai on Newcastle’s Queen Street which opened 3 weeks ago.
A spokesperson for Khai Khai said: “Harrison Ford just walked in with two friends for lunch.” He added: “The team were very excited, we found him a discreet table so he could enjoy his food without too much fuss.”
The spokesperson said: “Mr Ford was very polite and was interested in the city of Newcastle in general, and the local Asian community in particular, asking many questions about both.”
Whilst at Khai Khai Harrison and his two friends enjoyed a three-course lunch, including Tandoori broccoli, a dish that is cooked with chilli flakes, a spiced almond crumble, and barberries.
The spokesperson added: “Before paying his bill and leaving a generous tip Harrison took time to talk to and have his picture taken with staff members. He was a true gentleman.”
It appears that Harrison Ford is no stranger to Indian cuisine and his visit to Khai Khai may not have been as serendipitous as it appears. Over the years Harrison has been a regular patron of the Tamarind Restaurant in London’s Mayfair, one of the first Indian restaurants in the world to win a Michelin star, which it holds to this day.
Tamarind boasts a celebrity of its own, Michelin starred Alfred Prasad was the Director Cuisine and Executive Chef of Tamarind Collection and is acknowledged as the creative energy behind three of London’s top Indian restaurants: Tamarind of Mayfair, Imli Street Restaurant and Zaika of Kensington, as well as Tamarind of London in Newport Beach, California. Alfred designed inventive menus for the restaurants with a keen eye on giving each a distinct brand identity.
Alfred is credited with elevating the reputation of British Indian food with his delicate treatment of fresh, seasonal produce. Becoming the youngest Indian chef to receive a Michelin star at the age of twenty-nine, he retained the Michelin star at Tamarind for twelve years.
And now Alfred is a key influence at Khai Khai, having worked closely with owner Jaf Ali on the new restaurants concept since early 2019.
Commenting on his involvement Alfred explains: “I met Jaf in London back in 2019 and it truly was a meeting of minds. I instantly bought into his vision to create a path breaking and elevated dining experience in Newcastle.”
“The initial brief was based on traditional wood fired stoves where smoke played an important part in the preparation of the food. We pushed that imagery further and the concept of Smoke Play and our food story was born.
“To bring smoke play to life we use tandoor ovens but also a Josper oven which enhances the smokiness of the food cooked in it.”
He finished by saying, “It’s been a pleasure going on this extraordinary journey with the Khai Khai team, from conceptualising the whole idea to seeing it come to life. I am truly proud to present a unique Indian dining experience to Newcastle and be a part of this urban legacy.”
And Harrison Ford’s verdict on Newcastle’s newest dining experience: Quite simply; “The food is amazing.”