Fittingly, the concept behind British-Indian gastropub Viceroy came up over a pint. “Our background has always been in bars, in British bars or Irish bars,” says Bull McCabe’s owner Malachy Noone, who partnered with fellow McCabe’s owner Rhys Botica and B.J. Patel of the Tan-Durm food truck to open Viceroy last November. “And we thought we’d be able to build something that’s completely unique to downtown.”
So, they brought a taste of the U.K.’s authentic Indian cuisine to Durham with a curated menu of small plates and main entrees, plus several items cooked in a tandoor that was imported from London.
“The issue I had when I first moved to the U.S. was that every Indian restaurant in the Triangle has pretty much the same menu, but they’ve adapted it to the culture here,” says Nick Singh, Viceroy’s general manager. “And so one of our goals was to create those true, British-style Indian curries.” That meant kicking the heat level up a notch.
“If you ask for it spicy here, you’ll get it spicy,” Malachy says.
Growing up, both B.J. and Nick frequently ate meals prepared with traditionally Indian ingredients, no matter the cuisine. “When mum made shepherd’s pie, she added our flavor into it, added a little curry,” B.J. says. “A lot of the infusion you see on the menu comes from home.” Viceroy’s gobi suka – battered cauliflower sautéed with onions, peppers and curry leaves – is one of the most popular dishes on the menu, as are the bhaji (onion and spinach fritters) and murg mykanwala (chicken in creamy tomato sauce with rice). “Murg mkyanwala just hits home,” B.J. says. “It’s just one of those curries that makes you feel good – it’s comfort food.”
For drinks – this is a pub, after all – look for about 10 British beers both on draft and in bottles. If cocktails are more your speed, try their bestselling Mumbai Mule and Tamarind Margarita.
Here’s a Tip! Always check out the rotating specials on the chalkboard, and don’t be afraid to try something new.
Late-night and lunch hours are on the horizon – B.J. is planning to offer up wraps and thalis (platters including vegetables, rice, bread, salad and a protein) for the lunch crowd – as are traditional Sunday roasts and soccer game viewings. “We are going to try to be the official Manchester United pub for the Triangle,” Nick says.
A British bar with Indian food – commonplace in England, this is the first of its kind in Durham. Bonus: A larger-than-average vegan and gluten-free menu.
Parking downtown can get tight, especially when there are shows at DPAC and The Carolina Theatre. Plan to make a reservation in advance, and work in some time to find a parking spot.
Photography by Briana Brough