Newcastle restaurant opens new street food café in the Grainger Market

Owners of the popular Ury Restaurant in Newcastle are now serving up diners another tasty treat with the opening of a city centre cafe.

The award-winning Indian eatery on the quayside, which specialises in Kerala-style dishes, has now launched a Sri Lankan street food café in the Grainger Market, adding to what is now a real foodie hub under its roof. Visitors can find the new Street Food Sri Lanka there in alley one.

Ury owner Dushantha Alawattegama had been planning this week's opening for nearly two years and now a hand-picked team of Sri Lankan chefs are busy at the street food café, serving up traditional dishes. The outlet, which aims to capture 'dinithi' - a word encompassing good food and good fortune, is out to celebrate Sri Lanka’s colourful and vibrant cuisine, with a range of curries and seafood dishes on the menu featuring vegetables and exotic fruits.

Dushantha, known as Dush to friends and family, originally left a banking career to move from Sri Lanka to the UK in 2003 where his dream of opening his own venue was realised at Ury in Queen Street, said to be the first restaurant in the city to offer a mix of Sri Lankan, Indian and Oriental cuisine. It was nominated for best restaurant in Newcastle at the 2023 British Restaurant Awards.

Dush said: “Sri Lankan food is not as popular in the North East as other cuisines and it’s rare to find Sri Lankan food in restaurants." He loves seeing customers enjoy the food, encouraging them to try the likes of the traditional Kingfish Curry as seafood is a big part of the cuisine, and he is looking forward to introducing more customers to Sri Lankan flavours.

Various types of fish will be offered on the café menu too, to reflect the island's fishing heritage, and he says: “I have been planning the Grainger Market opening for almost two years," adding that the location is "something special".

He says: "There’s an established exciting food community in the market; it has great footfall; there are lots of traders spanning generations and the exciting plans for the future look great too.

"It’s the ideal spot to start my new venture.” Welcoming the new trader to the market, Coun Alex Hay, of Newcastle City Council, said the business, following on from the success of the quayside restaurant and time spent trading at the Quayside Market, is a success story of a city where businesses and entrepreneurs are supported by the council.

“It’s great to hear of another business moving into the Grainger Market and becoming part of the exciting community that exists there," he said.