So this review is a bit late - ok, read very late, having gone out on Valentine's Day, but you know, sometimes life just gets in the way.
With high hopes we set off to Rasa on Newcastle's Quayside. Our usual fail-safe is Sabatini's but having been there twice pretty recently and as I'd not long since read the Secret Diner's glowing report, we thought a change of scenery in order.
We declined the 'special' menu, opting for their regular option, and to begin with things looked quite promising. The staff were attentive but unobtrusive and knowledgeable, providing extra information about the dishes and as I polished off my Konju Fry starter, I was feeling confident about the choice we'd made. Unfortunately it was all downhill from there. The service all but disappeared, they staff seeming to prefer standing around the corner chatting to paying attention to what was happening in the restaurant, whilst my main dish was very nice, my partner's was completely tasteless and although we wanted coffees, the staff took so long coming back to the table that we just asked for the bill and went for a drink in the Akenside instead. In fact, I can probably say the best thing about the whole experience was the Malabar Paratha bread. Far nicer than the Naan breads one usually receives with Indian food, but I didn't go out to just enjoy bread.
Do the restaurants reviewed by the Secret Diner know he's coming? Do they up their game during the visit? I absolutely cannot see any reason for the 5 stars awarded in his review. My view? I'd be struggling to give it 3 out of 5.
On a positive note, the pre-dinner drinks at the Slug, and the post-dinner drinks at the Akenside were just lovely.