As a big fan of curry and spicy food I had been looking forward to visiting one of the best-regarded Indian restaurants in the area - The Agra 3 at Blyth.
And as soon as the crispy popadoms and a delicious pickle tray arrived, I knew I would not be disappointed.
The restaurant, on Retford Road, seemed to get almost everything right.
The atmosphere, lighting, attentive but not overbearing staff, and most of all the food, were all spot on when I visited recently with my mum and sister.
We arrived early in the evening and although it was quiet being a week night, there were already other diners enjoying their main courses.
After being ushered to a side table, a waiter quickly arrived to take our drinks order and asked how many popadoms we wanted.
It being a week-night and because I was driving, I had to forego the pleasures of a Kingfisher or Cobra Indian beer, and opted for a Coke.
For me, the popadoms and pickle tray are an important part of any Indian meal, and set the scene for the whole experience.
At Agra 3, there was a selection of four pickles, with the mango chutney and lime pickle proving the most popular in our group. The lime pickle in particular was delicious and a little different to the varieties I had experienced at other Indian restaurants.
Only a quick browse of the menu revealed a good range of main courses available. All the classic curries were there, and I opted for a Chicken Tikka Shishlick, which was a dish I had been tempted by before but never had.
My mum chose the Makhani Chicken and my sister opted for the Chicken Tikka Massala.
We decided to share two pilau rice and a nan bread between us, which proved a good decision as when the main courses arrived they were hearty portions.
The Shishlick contained very thin slices of tender chicken, crunchy onions and was medium spiced.
Although I usually prefer slightly spicier dishes like Madras or Jalfrezi, I was delighted with my choice.
My mum and sister also enjoyed their main meals and commented on the quality of the chicken and delicious sauces.
By the time we had finished our main courses none of us had room for a dessert and we were pleased with a bill which came to far less than £20 a head for an excellent meal.
Being so close to Blyth’s many pubs, Agra 3 is a perfect spot for locals to enjoy a curry and a few drinks. While drivers will find it easy to reach and close the A1.