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Hot coals and smoke inspire the design of Newcastle’s Khai Khai restaurant

Smoke-laced cooking inspired the design of Newcastle’s Khai Khai Indian restaurant and bar, which blends South Asian and industrial influences.

The Grade II-listed Quayside eatery is the latest offering from award-winning restaurateur Jaf Ali. He enlisted London studio Run For The Hills to design Khai Khai’s scheme, reflecting the blackened, charcoal hues of the restaurant’s ‘smoke play’ culinary theme, where dishes are cooked over hot coals.

Photography: Anna Miller

Interiors bring to mind the shifting interaction of darkness, fire and transparency. Dark timber, a backdrop of earthy hues and metal mesh surfaces, with hammered copper and brass, and mirrored elements, heighten the theme. Meanwhile, woven finishes of cord, rope and cane and atmospheric lighting by Elektra Lighting – inspired by fireside gatherings – soften metallic elements.

Run For The Hills has woven in a sense of late-night fun with red neon signage and lightboxes and a bar-side gramophone. Framed Sanskrit recipes, South Asian bric-a-brac, and an abundance of potted plants reference the heritage behind Khai Khai’s menu and its rural traditions.

Photography: Anna Miller

The Newcastle restaurant’s semi-open kitchen provides views of the cooking in action, presided over by Michelin-starred chef Alfred Prasad. His menu draws on India’s diverse, regional cuisines with dishes such as grilled seabass with Kerala moilee sauce and Kashmiri lamb Roganjosh.

29 Queen St, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 3UG, UK

Photography: Anna Miller
Photography: Anna Miller
Photography: Anna Miller
Photography: Anna Miller

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