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4 Atul Kochhar in hot water over Islamophobic tweet English Curry Awards winner fined over hygiene offences

7 Menu from UK’s oldest restaurant fetches £8,500 at auction

Top chefs unite for exclusive charity dining event at the Taj Cuisine Chatham



16 Tommy Miah and his wife owe creditors over £260,000 “Despite pressures there are signs of positivity within the UK curry sector”


Cobra Beer hits record-breaking 101 gold medals with 7 new medals at Monde Selection Awards


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Photo: Taj Cuisine




Tweet that left nasty taste on the mouth The Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar has left a nasty taste on the mouths for his recent anti-Islam tweets. The most controversial one really shocked everyone who knew him well. Clearly, he lacks the most basic knowledge of the history of Islam, just like many Americans and Brits on the west needs a crash course in race relations, and religious sensitivities. Surely, one should accept the fact, if Atul has the freedom to express his personal views on a public platform, then organisations that associate with him have the right to sever their ties with him, particularly if those views go against their own core values. That’s exactly what has happened in

Dubai with the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, which has terminated the contract and all association with the chef Atul Kochhar. Atul Kochhar, we know is a very talented chef and knowing him as a moderate, liberal, secular figure, not as an ‘Islamophobic Bigot.’ Atul shouldn’t be remembered as the chef who’s tweets left a nasty taste on the mouth. Let us put this behind, he made one mistake and apologised for it and lets move on. Maybe he should stick to rattling his pots and pans in the kitchens of his restaurants in London, Spain and on P&O cruise ships from now on. Focus more on what he knows best.

Costs awarded to London’s Canary Wharf Restaurant after public inquiry We report on page 8 about a popular Canary Wharf restaurant, Temple Lounge in London, has been awarded legal cost after public inquiry hearing. Owner of the Temple Lounge who has been running this successful venture at the Canary Wharf London of course now delighted with the outcome and

decision of the Public Inquiry. Mr Naz Chowdhury of Temple Lounge was right in saying: “the council should be helping rather than hindering local businesses.” We hope a lesson can be learned from this case and restaurateurs should stand up for their rights.

Greedy landlords! We are appalled yet again at the departure of a well-patronised, established Royal Bengal Restaurant, which has traded about a half century at the centre of Northampton’s Bridge Street at the hands of the moneygrubbing greedy landlord. Things took a turn for the worse for Royal Bengal owners, when the lease ended in 2017. The landlord offered a new lease - with a 40% increase in the rent. According to owners of Royal Bengal, it would have been impossible to survive on with this massive


increase of rent. So, they said no to massive increase of rent. According a recent facebook posting by family member S Rahman since closing last year the property has been on the market for more than 12 months, but no takers even, with the original rent what Royal Bengal was previously paying. It is now clear that closure of Popular Curry House Royal Bengal in Northampton was not due to Staff shortage, it was down to greedy landlords.


Michelin star chef

ATUL KOCHHAR in hot water over Islamophobic tweet


top London chef has landed in hot water after posting an anti-Islam tweet calling a Hindu character a “terrorist” in the hit TV series Quantico. Kochhar, the owner of Indian restaurant, Benares, in London's Mayfair wrote on Twitter: "Hindus have been terrorised by Islam for over 2000 years". He removed the social media post later, but not before a storm of online protest, accusations of bigotry and calls to boycott his restaurants. The chef ’s employers acted quickly to distance themselves

from the beleaguered cook. JW Marriott, the US hotel chain, ended his contract to operate a restaurant at their Dubai-based Marquis Hotel. In a statement, Bill Keffer, general manager of JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai said: "“Following the recent comments made by chef Atul Kochhar, we have taken the decision to end our agreement with him for Rang Mahal. With the termination of our agreement, Chef Atul will no longer be associated with the restaurant and the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai.



Rang Mahal in Dubai “At the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai we pride ourselves on creating a culture of diversity and inclusion for our guests and associates across the hotel and our restaurants. We also remain committed to delivering the traditional culinary experience and high service standards that Rang Mahal is renowned for.” Responding to the hotel’s actions, the chef said “The decision by JW Marriott Marquis Dubai is deeply upsetting, however I fully accept the great pain I have caused and the difficult position the hotel has been put in,” said Kochhar in a statement. “I have great respect for JW Marriott and in particular their staff in Dubai and wish the hotel well for the future. I hope my friends and well-wishers in Dubai will forgive me and continue to support me in the future.”

still continued to condemn him. Social media users in India believed that Kochhar’s tweet incited “anti-Muslim bigotry”. Author Anna Vetticad, called it "the most unmeant apology ever used". Iman Atta, the director of UK-based anti-Muslim hate monitoring service, Tell MAMA, said: "Some people reflexively assume that if a celebrity is saying it, it is alright". He added: "This mainstreaming creates division and resentment when some people translate it into online and street-based anti-Muslim hatred." The episode of Quantico which caused the furore, showed Chopra, who plays FBI agent Alex Parrish, thwarting a terrorist plan and uncovering the plot was by Hindu nationalists who had tried to pass themselves off as Muslim fundamentalists. Kochhar criticised Chopra, saying: "It's sad to see that you have not respected the sentiments of Hindus who have been terrorised by Islam over 2000 years. Shame on you," the chef tweeted.

The backlash begins This was swiftly followed by Halal Gems, a restaurant finder app, deleting Kocchar’s restaurant from its recommendations. “There is just no need for our platform to promote restaurants where owners hold bigoted views. Consumers can make their own decisions about where they would like to dine,” Halal Gems founder and CEO Zohra Khaku told Gulf News. “It was important [to drop his restaurants] because our organisation is built on valuing ethics, promoting good values and high standards.” She continued: “I do think his views will ultimately affect his brand. Brands are built on values and we’ve seen the values Atul holds. The halal conscious consumer is incredibly loyal, but break that trust and you will have a hard time rebuilding it. I hope Atul manages to reform his opinions.” The chef also apologised for his tweets which he called “insensitive and wrong”. Reports in the media suggest Kochhar could also face prosecution in Dubai, where online comments which spread hate, particularly those regarding Islam and Muslims, are a criminal offence. Despite retracting his comments, many of Kocchar’s critics

Sorry seems to be the easiest word Apologies were flowing thick and fast, with Chopra, a Hindu, also asking for forgiveness. "'I’m extremely saddened and sorry that some sentiments have been hurt by a recent episode of Quantico. “That was not and would never be my intention. I sincerely apologise. I'm a proud Indian and that will never change,” she tweeted. The broadcaster of the show also wrung their hands in a grovelling statement. “ABC Studios and the executive producers of Quantico would like to extend an apology to our audience who were offended by the most recent episode, The Blood of Romeo. “The episode has stirred a lot of emotion, much of which is unfairly aimed at Priyanka Chopra, who didn’t create the show, nor does she write or direct it. “The show has featured antagonists of many different ethnicities and backgrounds, but in this case we inadvertently and regrettably stepped into a complex political issue. It was


NEWS certainly not our intention to offend anyone.” Defending his actions, Kochhar told his 55,000 Twitter followers: “There is no justification for my tweet, a major error made in the heat of the moment on Sunday. I fully recognise my inaccuracies that Islam was founded around 1,400 years ago and I sincerely apologise. I am not Islamophobic, I deeply regret my comments that have offended many.” He later added: “I would like to apologise unreservedly to my Muslim friends, the Islamic community and everyone I have offended with my recent tweets. They were insensitive and wrong. “My work and my restaurant are defined by a passion to unite cultures through food, love and understanding. I have let myself and my colleagues down. I am upset and sorry for the pain I have caused and ask for your forgiveness.”

Atul at the Rang Mahal in JW Marriot in Dubai

is just to save your restaurants and money. Priyanka’s views on terrorism was reel but your views are real.” “Our criticism was also not to offend you personally, rather, to let you not carried away by the ongoing politically-motivated hate speech. As I said in my last reply, you can use this opportunity to become a source of positivity,” tweeted Omair Anas. Moiz Syed posted: “I wish people like you who are passionate to unite cultures by culinary delights, get more informed on history, religions and culture. Seeking knowledge is the best option.” One angry Muslim on Twitter wrote:' I have cancelled my wedding anniversary meal for next month at your restaurant. 'YOU knew exactly what you meant as YOU tweeted that message. Disgusted.' Asian media commentator Sunny Hundal tweeted to his 75,000 followers that Kochhar was a hypocrite. He asked Kochhar: “What are you sorry about? Your views on Muslims? “You blame Muslims for victimising Hindus for 2000 years (apparently!). But you're happy to make money off them in Dubai. “And you have no problems against the British, who killed more Hindus during the Raj? “Hypocritical isn't it?” Others have also suffered in the fallout. A former writer of Quantico, Sharbari Zohra Ahmed, a Bangladeshi American Muslim, was trolled by Hindu nationalists and threatened with rape and violence.

In defence of Kocchar However, not everyone has agreed with calls for a boycott of Kochhar. Journalist Sunny Hundal said it would ferment an "arms race of outrage". He argued: "The hate feeds on each other. Hindu mobs will increasingly look for any Muslim to boycott, and vice versa. It won't end well if we keep feeding this.” Kocchar was the second Indian to earn a Michelin star in 2007 for his Benares restaurant in London. He also operates the Michelin-starred Benares and Indian Essence in London, Sindhu at the Macdonald Compleat Angler hotel in Marlow, and the two-AA-rosette Hawkyns at the Crown Inn in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, which opened last year. He also runs Benares in Madrid and appeared in an episode of BBC Two’s Million Pound Menu, and committed to investing in Epoch, a restaurant concept by Ruth Hansom and Emily Lambert. At the time of going to press, Kocchar’s Twitter account had been deleted.

Technology to blame? Kochhar then tried to blame a technical glitch for causing the offensive tweet. “I meant to say ‘invasion’ and now Islam and it auto corrected. It was about four to six hours later that I saw it and it was too late,” he told the Mail Online. “I am not anti-Islamic and I was brought up as a Hindu with Muslims, Sikhs, Jains and I believe we are all equal.” However, his Twitter timeline shows he has "liked" tweets by Indian right-wingers who have run campaigns against Muslims. The online row continued to rumble on. “When Priyanka apologised which she didn’t have to, you weren't that nice to her, were you?” tweeted Fehmeenavoice, adding: “As for me I am never going to visit any of your food outlets. Your apology



Vintage menu from UK’s oldest restaurant fetches £8,500 at auction whom he had fallen in love and in February 1810, Mohammed announced the opening of his London restaurant in a newspaper advertisement in the Morning Post. “Sake Deen Mahomad, manufacturer of the real currie powder, takes the earliest opportunity to inform the nobility and gentry, that he has, under the patronage of the first men of quality who have resided in India, established at his house, 34 George Street, Portman-Square, the Hindostanee Dinner and Hooka Smoking Club. Apartments are fitted up for their entertainment in the Eastern style, where dinners, composed of genuine Hindostanee dishes, are served up at the shortest notice; Such ladies and gentlemen as may desirous of having India Dinners dressed and sent to their own houses will be punctually attended to by giving previous notice.” London’s first restaurant guide ‘The Epicure’s Almanack’ describes the Hindustan Coffee House in glowing terms. “All the dishes were dressed with curry powder, rice, cayenne and the best spices of Arabia. A room was set apart for smoking from hookahs with oriental herbs. The rooms were neatly fitted up en suite, and furnished with chairs and sofas made of bamboo canes. Chinese pictures and other Asiatic embellishments, representing views in India, oriental sports, and groups of natives decorated the walls.”

An intriguing menu from Britain’s oldest Indian restaurant has sold for an astonishing £8,500 at auction. The comprehensive list of dishes of over 25 dishes from the Hindoostane Dinner and Hooka Smoking Club included ‘pineapple pullaoo’ and ‘chicken and lobster curries’ as well as a varied selection of chutneys, breads and other sundries. The handwritten menu was sold by Jarndyce Antiquarian Books at the Rare Book Fair in May. The restaurant was first opened in 1809 by Dean Mahomed, a former captain in the East India Company in London. He first joined the East India Company at the tender age of 11 where he was trained as a soldier. He resigned in 1782 and travelled to the UK to try his fortunes here. In 1786, he married an Irish woman with




Costs awarded to shisha restaurant from Tower Hamlets Council after public inquiry


emple Lounge in the heart of London's business district of Canary Wharf has been awarded costs to the tune of £60,000 from Tower Hamlets Council. Owner Naz Chowdhury said it was a victory for common sense after the local authority tried to shut down the Temple Lounge on the grounds of noise and odour. Fighting the local authority was not only

have risked everything on this matter, and I am furious that I was made to go through this. "The local authority has not only spent legal and professional costs on their own case, but have also given me my partial award, all from the taxpayers' money. I had complained about this matter to senior people within Tower Hamlets planning, so they were well aware, yet nothing was done,” Chowdhury says.

After a four-day public inquiry, the inspector found in favour of Chowdhury, and that Tower Hamlets Local Authority had acted unreasonably. The council agreed to pay costs of £60,000 plus VAT, as a partial cost award. stressful and expensive for the local business man. "I spent over £120,000 in legal expenses," he told Curry Life. Tower Hamlets issued the shisha restaurant with an action to prevent the selling of shisha on the premises in April 2017. The order was sent out on the grounds of noise and odour at the Temple Lounge, which faces the West India Quay in London's Docklands. After a four-day public inquiry, the inspector found in favour of Chowdhury, and that Tower Hamlets Local Authority had acted unreasonably. The council agreed to pay costs of £60,000 plus VAT, as a partial cost award.

Expensive legal costs The restaurant owner said he was relieved that the inquiry awarded in his favour. "As you can appreciate, this has been a frightening experience as I have faced the prospect of losing my business, the legal and professional costs, and the livelihood of all those who work for me. I

"I believe this is an abuse of power, and council authorities need to be far more cautious in issuing enforcement action. It ultimately rests on the head of planning at Tower Hamlets.” The Environmental Protection Department has a statutory duty to investigate all complaints relating to alleged nuisances, according to the Tower Hamlets website. "Matters considered to be a statutory nuisance are premises in such a condition as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance, smoke, fumes or gases emitted from premises." According to Chowdhury, the council should be helping rather than hindering local businesses. "The restaurant sector is in crisis anyway. Having these burdens on top has been a nightmare," he said. Encouraged by the inspector's decision, Chowdhury encouraged other restaurant owners to stand up for their rights, saying that the community need to be "aware of this type of misuse of power, and next time the local authority will be much


more careful before issuing enforcement." Chowdhury has been given full planning permission to sell shisha at the Temple Lounge. The restaurant is a halal restaurant, which does not sell alcohol, so is heavily reliant on shisha sales.

A favourite in the City district The Temple Lounge serves Arabic and Asian cuisine in the atmosphere of an exotic bazaar. Open all day, the restaurant services coffee and cake in the morning, light bites at lunch and a selection of Lebanese, Indian dishes as well as burgers and wraps. The restaurant has been a favourite among sportsmen with reviews from Prince Naseem Hamed, who was a world featherweight boxing champion. Hamed was impressed by the fantastic food, location and service". Amir Khan, a former unified lightwelterweight world boxing champion, enjoyed smoking a pipe at the Canary Wharf establishment. "Best shisha and food in London Temple Lounge Canary Wharf!!! Amazing food and the boys are enjoying the shisha." Shisha on offer include Al Fakher Fresh Mint, Double Apple, Grape & Mint as well as Pink Lemonade.

An Eastern import Shisha lounges, a common sight in the Middle East, are gaining in popularity in London, with many restaurants and roof terraces across the city now offering the experience. Many city workers enjoy shisha, followed by a three-course meal or try it with an aperitif. In the London borough of Westminster alone, there are now an estimated 150 shisha cafes. Shisha use is highest amongst young smokers and appears to be growing, according to a survey entitled Shisha Smoking in South East London.The group most likely to be smoking shisha were young smokers. Around fifty per cent of smokers aged 18-24 years old had also smoked shisha in the last year. Even among young non-smokers aged 18-24, around 30% had smoked shisha in the last year. In 2007, a UK ban on smoking in public places has had an effect, with a marked rise in Shisha bars, from 179 in 2007 to 556 in 2012.

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Curry restaurants are capitalising on the huge appetite for home deliveries in Britain, which has netted around £4.2 billion each year on food brought to customers’ doors. It amounts to an astonishing rise of 73 per cent in a decade.

In 2017, there were approximately 673 million deliveries, with Chinese food the most popular, followed by pizza, burgers and curry. The increase in eating takeaways at home rather than going out to restaurants is attributed to the use of smartphone apps which make it much easier to order food at the tap of a button, says industry analysts The NPD Group. There has been a sharp downturn in business on the British high street, with Jamie’s Italian and Strada having to close multiple venues. The number of UK restaurants going bust increased by a fifth last year as major chains came under pressure amid a squeeze on consumer spending, according to a Guardian report. Bucking the trend are digital outlets such as Just Eat, which offer opportunities for the smaller, independent restaurants to compete with their larger competitors. The takeaway delivery market is expected to rise by a further 17 per cent over the next couple of years, according to NPD, with total expenditure potentially reaching £5 billion. Value for money is tempting for the customer, who may spend 50 per cent less on takeaways, as they would do if they visited the restaurant in person. They often cut out starters, desserts and drinks, making a meal much more affordable as well as being in the comfort of their own home. “Whatever way you look at it, takeaway delivery is definitely changing the shape of Britain’s food service industry. “Delivery is a big hit with consumers – thanks to the apps they now have a very large choice of restaurants at their fingertips. “It is also a great marketing platform, especially for independent restaurants that can’t afford to spend on advertising. “Phone apps and websites also make it easier for consumers to order full meals from a variety of cuisines. Just one app could offer a choice from either burgers, or chicken, or Indian, or Chinese, and much more. “It’s all there at the click of a button.”

Darlington could be the curry capital of Britain A restaurant owner has claimed the North-East as a rival to Indian eateries in Bradford and Brick Lane. Mussy Choudhury, the owner of the Red Hot Bar and Grill thinks Darlington’s restaurants could give any other restaurants a run for their money. He called for the local tourist board to start promoting the area’s culinary offerings to encourage people to visit. “People know Bradford and Brick Lane but I don’t understand why the North-East is not recognised as the country’s curry capital. “There are around 1,200 Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi restaurants within a 40 mile radius of Darlington, they’re independent and offering quality food,” Said Mr Choudhury. “We know from places like London’s Brick Lane and Bradford that there’s a demand for quality curries and we

need more support in the North-East. “We need to have a go at being the nation’s curry capital – Manchester United might win the league twenty times in a row but that doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t deserve a chance to.” Bangladeshi food has been in Darlington for many years. Chowdhury explained that his friends’ fathers and grandfathers had settled in the town after helping Britain during the war. “We’re still here, bringing great curry and it’s part of the town’s heritage but not enough people are shouting about it. “The curry industry here is massive, it’s been here for more than 50 years and the North-East needs to be recognised Darlington needs to be put on the map.”


NEWS Michelin-starred top Indian restaurant is temporarily shutting its doors in order to re-open with a lavish new interior. Sagrada, a London company who created the interiors for The Arts Club, an exclusive Dover Street member’s club, will design the new interiors. Rahul Khanna, director of Tamarind Collection, said: “Tamarind has performed consistently for over 20 years. “Recently we got the opportunity to acquire the floor above the restaurant. “The space has big windows on both sides complementing the existing space very well. The cuisine on offer at Tamarind also gets a makeover, with a “reinvented approach to the menu,” according to the

Tamarind restaurant in London’s Mayfair closes for refurbishment restaurant’s website. The restaurant is expected to open by the early autumn and offers a “whole new and much needed dining concept,” a Tamarind spokesperson said. Tamarind was the first Indian eatery to win a Michelin star, which was awarded in 2001. The restaurant is one of the Tamarind collections, which also has Zaika in Kensington and Tamarind Kitchen, Soho, in its stables. A new South Indian restaurant will be launched by the company in London, which

offers food and flavours “influenced by the bountiful coastline and coconut-laden beaches” of the southern states of the Indian subcontinent.

Antibacterial wallpaper English Curry Awards winner designed for restaurants fined over hygiene offences A new range of wallpapers with beautiful designs that guard against breeding harmful bacteria is now available from These latest products are set to be a gamechanger for the new generation of wall treatments. The made-to-measure wall coverings are specially created for vulnerable environments, including those where food is served, which have antibacterial and antimicrobial qualities. The material is coated in a special formula that prevents the development of bacteria. Antimicrobial wallpaper helps to stop growth of harmful bacteria, as well as mould and mildew that breed in moisture and can spread. The wallpaper also has the useful feature, which includes ‘upload your own image.’ Restaurant owners can customise wall coverings to depict a range of pictorial images – from Bangalore to Bombay. Other options include murals depicting scenes such as forests, flowers, beaches and wildlife. Antibacterial or antimicrobial wallpaper is specially designed for tough environments that receive a lot of footfall in commercial establishments, such as restaurants.

A former winner of the Restaurant of the Year award in the English Curry Awards has been convicted on offences of food hygiene. Magistrates heard evidence that staff at Bombay Spice did not have sufficient facilities to wash their hands, the food storage area was not cleaned properly and there were no customer notices warning that food used in the dishes might cause allergies. Magistrates said not informing customers of the allergy breach could have had serious health consequences. The Bombay Spice in Goodramgate,York also used soya oil that was genetically modified, and customers were not informed of this, prosecutor Victoria Waudby said. Defending the reputation of the restaurant, a 77-year-old who dined at the Bombay Spice twice a week, told magistrates through solicitor Sukhip Randhawa, that the curry house was always clean when he visited and that he thought the staff were well trained. Mr Randhawa, defending, told the court that Mohammed Ali Akbar, the restaurant director, was unaware of the council’s concerns.


He added that Mr Akbar did not know that the law required him to notify customers about possible allergy concerns. Mr Akbar, 26, from Birmingham admitted two hygiene offences. The company running the restaurant, Milos (York) Ltd, admitted four. All of the offences were committed in October 2017, with The City of York bringing the case to court. Measures had now been taken to rectify the issues, Mr Randhawa said, including a £12,000 kitchen renovation, improved cleaning routines and allergy notices placed in the restaurant. In 2012, Mr Akbar pleaded guilty to eight fire regulation offences and was fined £5,600 with a £15 victim surcharge and £2,829 prosecution costs. Firefighters had found a lack of smoke alarms, combustible material stored under stairs and obstructed escape routes at the Bombay Spice. At the time, there was sleeping accommodation for staff on the first and second floors.


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Top chefs unite for exclusive charity dining event at the


Chef Abul and Chef Dominic


he air at the Taj Cuisine in Chatham was saffroninfused as guests waited impatiently for the slowcooked spiced Wiltshire Lamb Biryani and exceptional


feast prepared by two highly acclaimed chefs, all in the aid of Charity Hospitality Action. Bespoke menu for the event crafted by two leading chefs who has taken many cooking challenges before here in the UK and India. Chef Abul Monsur is a multi Awards wining chef based in Chatham, Kent and Dominic Chapman, who is a Michelin Laureate chef and now runs a very successful award winning restaurant in White Waltham, Berkshire, The Beehive Restaurant, decided to join forces to work together to raise money for Hospitality Action. Both chefs were inspired take up the challenge by Mo Gherras, who works with the charity, assisting people working in the hospitality industry that are down on their luck. A total £800 was raised on the night. Gherras had contacted chef Abul Monsur to see if he would be interested in hosting the dinner at his Taj Cuisine restaurant. Monsur readily agreed as he had been looking to sponsor a charity for some time. Preparations for the event took place about a month ago, says Monsur. “Details were sent out on the Taj Cuisine’s Twitter and Facebook accounts. We also let regular customers know about the night and how much their support was needed.” The event was planned about a month ago and details were sent out on the Taj Cuisine’s Twitter and Facebook accounts. They also let regular customers know about the night and how much their support was needed. It was very well attended with around 42 guests, making a total of £800 for the charity.

Taj Cuisine team for Monsur. “The dinner was a collaboration between myself and Abul to make a few quid for charity, and to share our experiences. It’s something I really enjoy doing and these events are really popular. I loved cooking with Abul. He has loads of energy, a real perfectionist and a very talented chef.” Chapman has known Monsur for a long time and has cooked together before. “We’ve done festivals in India – in Kolkata and Hyderabad, which was organised by Curry Life Magazine. We jointly came up with a menu idea for Charity night so it was a nicely balanced menu with our speciality dishes. It was a really good night. The restaurant was full and it’s a great way of drumming up business for charity.”

Sweet treat The Chatham chef can’t claim credit for the dessert. His wife made the gulab jamun, adding her own twist to the tastes. She added extra semolina, roasted and ground fenugreek and added syrup flavoured with clove and bayleaf and cardamom. The day started early for Abul, going to the local market at 7am. “I wanted the freshest produce. I am very fussy about my vegetables and chicken.” The Chatham chef decided to cook something very special for the event: Lamb Biryani, slow-cooked with spiced Wiltshire lamb, served with raita and a vegetable sauce. The dish was made according to his mother’s and grandmother’s special Bangladeshi recipe, says Monsur. “The meat was marinated for 48 hours and was infused with spices including coriander and saffron. It was then cooked for 8 hours. The biggest test for me was to make sure it didn’t burn as it was cooking for so long. That was very scary, but in the end, it was very successful. The whole kitchen smelled of wonderful saffron.”

Inventive dishes Chef Chapman chose and created the smoked haddock Scotch egg, made with turmeric and chilli mayo as a starter. For the main dish, he made rabbit masala, with yoghurt, Kashmiri chilli coriander, almonds and served with nan bread and brown basmati rice. Chapman is well known for his rabbit lasagne; there’s even a video of him creating it on his website, but the Indian dish is not at all the same, as he explained. “They are totally different dishes. In the lasagne, the meat is taken off the bone. In the masala dish, the whole rabbit leg is cooked overnight until it is nice and tender. It’s served with rice or nan bread.” The greatest challenge for Chapman was the dessert. “The baked Alaska was a real effort as the kitchen was quite warm! I want to do it all over again. It’s such a great thing to do – seeing everybody, talking to customers, cooking together. The customers were over the moon. They were very happy and loved the event.” And the customers’ favourite dish on the night? “It was a split between the Scotch Egg and the Lamb Biryani,” Chapman says. “Although I wouldn’t want to single out any dish as they were all very well received.” Established in 1837, Hospitality Action, the Hospitality Industry Benevolent Organisation, offers assistance to all who work, or have worked within hospitality in the UK and who find themselves in crisis.

Two cooks collaborate The highlight of the evening was collaborating with a Michelin-starred chef, Dominic Chapman. “I enjoyed cooking with Dominic. It was good teamwork. He is passionate about cooking which is something he does from the heart.” The same could be said of Chapman, who has much respect



Tommy Miah and his wife owe creditors over £260,000

Mohammed Miah and Anwara Miah have been disqualified as directors for failing to keep company accounts and making tax payments. The pair were directors of Murrayfield Developments Limited (MDL), which traded as The Original Raj Hotel in Edinburgh. The company ceased trading in November 2015 and went into liquidation in December 2015, leaving debts of nearly £300,000. A trial was the result of an investigation by the Insolvency Service, which followed the liquidation.

Robert Clarke, Head of Company Investigation at the Insolvency Service said: “Directors have a duty to ensure that their companies maintain proper accounting records, and, following insolvency, deliver them to the office-holder in the interests of fairness and transparency. “Without a full account of transactions it is impossible to determine whether a director has discharged his duties properly, or is using a lack of documentation as a cloak for impropriety.” Court hearings stated that Mr and Mrs Miah did not keep or deliver accounting records for MDL and hand them over to

the liquidator. This is a requirement of insolvency law. It was not possible to account for an amount of £1 million, which was paid out of the company’s bank account. These included cheques written to cash after the company was winding up. It was also noted that the directors failed to provide a statement of affairs to the liquidator. There was also a tax debt of at least £228,920. Neither of the company directors appeared at the court hearing at which the Sheriff declared a disqualification against them both. The ban started on 6 March 2018 and stays in effect until 6 March 2025. A person with a disqualification cannot act as a director of a company, take part, directly or indirectly, in the promotion, formation or management of a company or limited liability partnership. Neither can they be a receiver of a company’s property. It was also found that Mr and Mrs Miah caused MDL to trade to the detriment of HMRC whilst insolvent from 1 January 2014 to the date of liquidation resulting in a tax debt of at least £228,920. In the absence of either Mohammed Miah or Anwara Miah at the court hearing, the Sheriff granted a disqualification order against both Mr and Mrs Miah. The disqualification commenced on 6 March 2018 and is effective until 6 March 2025.

Reception held for visiting Pakistani Cricket Captain Sarfraz Ahmed

A reception was hosted recently for visiting Pakistani Cricket Captain Sarfraz Ahmed at the East London’s famous eatery Lahore Kebab House. The reception was organised on behalf of Pepsi, which is the sponsor of Pakistan

Cricket team. Addressing the gathering Sarfraz Ahmed said: “It is a great honour for me to leading the team for this tour of Ireland, England and Scotland. We are looking for a positive outcome.”


Senior Pepsi officials, wholesalers, Media and selected cricketing enthusiasts, attended reception. Sarfraz Ahmed also answered various questions from Media and the audience present at the event.


Former BCA President Pasha Khandaker awarded MBE Mr Nur-ur Rahman Khandaker Pasha, better known as Pasha Khandaker, the former President of the Bangladesh Caterers Association (BCA), has been awarded MBE on Queen’s Birthday this year for his contribution to catering industry and local community. The MBE is most commonly refers to Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, a grade within the British order of chivalry. This year on queen birthday one thousand and fifty seven people received this honour. Mr Khandaker served continuously on the various positions of Bangladesh Caterers Association, including General Secretary, Senior Vice President and later as the President for many years. Despite leaving his position as the President Of BCA, he still remains as a leading figure of the BCA Policy Making Forum, National Executive Committee (NEC). Mr Khandaker throughout his involvement with BCA has been working relentlessly to raise the standards of the British curry industry and still passionately working very closely with those who are related with curry and catering industry to fight for establishing their rights and developments of the business. He is the chairman of Reliance West Malling Limited and Principal partner of Gandhi Tandoori restaurant, in West Malling, Kent and Gandhi Tandoori at Rye in East Sussex.




social media

I couldn’t believe how many people had engaged with us!

social media marketing. Mohammed stated ‘I tasked the team at Really Social with helping to bring us 80 clients a day and so far things seem to be on track!’ A huge majority of the population are active social media users, which presents an incredible opportunity for business owners to easily showcase their restaurant to all the people who live and work in the area. ‘There are so many restaurants around the country that have fantastic chefs, amazing food and stunning interiors but nobody knows about them, it’s such missed opportunity'- James from Really Social. Using a combination of great photography and mini videos, utlitising Facebook and Instagram is the perfect way to show the local community what your restaurant can offer them; whether it be that special mid-week deal or simply showcasing the high qualify of your freshly prepared food. To see how professional social media can work for your business, please contact James or Aman on 01733 806 404. Remember, the first 10 clients to arrange a meeting this month will receive a free professional photoshoot so don’t hesitate getting in touch!


n our series of social media articles, we’ve been looking at restaurants around the country that are experiencing great success with their digital marketing. Sometimes it pays to ask the experts for help, and that’s certainly the case when it comes to using social media, as when used correctly it can allow you to reach thousands of local potential customers very cost effectively. The Indian Sizzler, an Indian restaurant in Watford, has been working closely with our social media partner, Really Social, for just over 2 months now and they’re already reaching tens of thousands of people every month with their online content. In May alone, 50,000 people around Watford saw the restaurant’s adverts and just under 3000 of those people directly engaged with the restaurant after seeing the adverts - a fantastic result! Restaurant owner Mohammed stated ‘I couldn’t believe how many people we were reaching so quickly, we’re a large restaurant with 190 seats so we needed to ensure we were filling the tables’. Like most restaurants, Indian Sizzler has been hugely successful and popular on the weekends, but was keen to increase the popularity of their weekday evenings through



Hamidur Rahman Sofu and Ataur Rahman Lyak

RAHMAn brothers realise RaJdooT dream N

ot rattled about encountering day-to-day dealings, brothers Hamidur Rahman Sofu and Ataur Rahman Lyak, who own Rajdoot in Guildford, consider themselves successful restaurateurs, having overcome all hardships to achieve their goal. Rajdoot translates to ambassador, bearing which in mind the duo envisioned creating a sophisticated, yet warm and friendly Indian cuisine restaurant, rich with flavours and quality. Guildford was a perfect pick for them as they had started off their chef ’s career in this very town. Donning the chefs’ hat was not as exciting as running a place on their own terms. At the tender age of 19, along with his 21-year-old brother, Lyak started the restaurant as a family-owned business in 1992. “It was not a business we inherited, nor did we own lots of property… it is sheer skill and hard work that has brought us fame in the curry industry,” Lyak says. “At the time we started, things were not great. UK was recession-hit then, so there were challenges,“ he says, adding, “But now, business is brisk and we have carved a niche for ourselves.”

When asked about the competition in the industry, the restaurateur quipped, “I am not at worried about competition, all I care about is meeting expectations.” “People visit the restaurant for the love of food. We have always maintained high food quality and will always do, and that is 'one area' always keep a close watch on,” he says. “It is good to have a healthy competition, but I don’t think we have a match at the moment,” Lyak laughs. Well, he did justice to his statement with a piping hot tray of their signature Tandoori Murgh Mushroom Dopyaza. The succulent chicken was seasoned with the right amount of spices and balanced with mushrooms, onions and capsicums. That was accompanied with special naan and a white and saffron pilao. The food was delectable and I couldn’t agree more with Lyak about them being above competition. Bhuna Lamb and Kadu Gosht (Lamb cooked with pumpkin chunks/cubes) served with steamed rice deserve a special mention too. Their Sunday buffet is the bestseller and Lyak can never recall a single weekend that the restaurant wasn’t busy. “It is reasonably priced for a buffet - £10.95 for adults and


children for £6.50 which include Starters/ 3 Main/ 2 Side/ Sundries. Unlike many other buffets, we maintain the quality of the food and have different items instead of the same menu every week.” The 80-seater restaurant is packed almost every evening with diners and the queue for takeaways is no shorter either. Not only do they accept bookings for small events, parties, get-togethers, catering in other locations is also part of their business. The décor of the restaurant brings back memories from an Indian holiday with pictures of the iconic Taj Mahal, The Gateway of India, Victoria Memorial and others, gracing the walls. The brightly lit bar looks inviting for a casual drink. “What we have created here is difficult to find elsewhere. We maintain a family environment – cosy, comfortable and good food. We also work with the community regularly holding fund raising events, sponsoring local football teams, catering for small and medium sized parties, customising it for the occasion,” he confirmed. Lyak is also an active member of the Bangladesh Caterers Association. The former chef pays equal amount of attention to his staff. “Chefs and staff are the assets of our business. I’m lucky to have a great award-winning chef with us - Anwar Hussain. Understanding their needs, flexibility with shifts, cutting down work hours to manage stress levels is very important characteristic restaurant owners should have.” Adapting to changing times, Lyak has opted for modern equipments and embraced technology. “We have commercial size dough kneaders, onion choppers and dishwashers. It is time-saving and useful for the staff,” he adds. He also encourages his staff to participate in culinary workshops and training programmes. When asked about how well does he deal with criticism, Lyak’s immediate response was: “I take it on the chin”. He adds, “Accepting and using criticism to better ourselves is something I’ve learned over the years. Reviews and comments are treated very seriously. I first understand the nature of the complaints – if the matter is serious in nature,

we compensate or refund or replace.” About growing and expanding in terms of number of restaurants his principles are quite clear. “I believe in investing time and effort in one place rather than having in many but not being able to attend to them personally.” “For me family time and work-life balance is very important -- sometimes business is priority, sometimes it’s family. There has to be a balance. I feel I have already achieved a lot and I am happy and thankful for everything. I am a successful restaurant owner, and a father to two lovely daughters — its all a blessing for me,” he signed off. Rajdoot Tandoori 220 London Road, Burpham, Guildford Surrey GU4 7JS Tel: 01483 451 278, 01483 576 219 email:

Rajdoot Team


Damon Swarbrick, CEO of Kingfisher Beer Europe

Despite pressures there are signs of positivity within the


ccording to recent Orbis research, the Global Beer Market is currently enjoying staggering growth rate owing to the rising global population, increased yields, and improved logistics and supply chain across the globe. How is the future looking for Kingfisher Beer, which is the clear No1 beer in India and is also sold in 78 other countries. Curry Life recently caught up with Damon Swarbrick, CEO of Kingfisher Beer Europe. He sets out his store on the way forward, from forays into the specialist craft beer as well as breaking into the cider market. 24

INTERVIEW Q: What's been happening in the Curry Industry from Kingfisher’s point of view? A: In recent years our industry has experienced a period of unprecedented pressure. These challenges include staff shortages, huge increases in tax and business rates, competition from other dining occasions, food hygiene, and immigration and are well documented. It's been a tough period but I think the last 18 months has given us examples of what can be done and what success looks like. I think there are clear signs of positivity within our core curry sector here in the UK. For Kingfisher, there is lots of enthusiasm, lots of encouragement and a real sense that for those who innovate and improve there's a bright future. From a Kingfisher perspective, our volume has grown 12% in the last three years but despite this we also realise that consumers' habits are changing. We recognise that the curry industry competes with all sorts of casual dining, whether it be premium burgers, Vietnamese street food or chains such as Nandos. The younger generation want to experiment and will continue to try different things.

Q: Any other new brands you are working on? A: Most recently, we have launched an IPA, an Indian pale ale called Bombay Bicycle, which is bottled and also in kegs. It's inspired by the story of how the British used to send beer to India. Given our credentials we are giving Indian beer back to Britain. Whilst craft beer is enjoying strong growth there isn’t a brand that is right for the Indian Restaurant Sector and overly hoppy beers aren’t good with Indian food. We are already in discussions about launching it in the USA.

Q: What are your new initiatives? A: We've launched a number of products specifically for the curry sector. We've launched the world's first Asian-inspired cider, called Peacock. We've launched two variants - apple flavour and a mango and lime flavour. The bird of Asia, the peacock, inspires the brand. We've had a lot of fun and a lot of success selling it. The market has received it extremely well. It feels appropriate to be in British curry houses but also works in Thai restaurants, Chinese restaurants and other pan-Asian outlets. In addition we have been to Sri Lanka and signed a distribution agreement with their biggest product, Lion Beer. We are now the European importer for this brand and that's a well-recognised quality addition to the beer market. Lion Beer is here because Sri Lankans and ex-patriots in the UK want to drink their product. So there has always been an export model where people buy the lager and the stout and there are probably 25 recognised Sri Lankan restaurants in the UK who sell the brand. This is for the Indian restaurateur, who wants to sell something other - or alongside Kingfisher and Cobra. They can charge a bit more. It's clearly imported; consumers want to try new things. We don't sell it in supermarkets at all.

Q: What’s the feedback? A: It is early days but the initial consumer feedback has been exceptionally positive. We will now take town-by-town, city-by-city and introduce the brand to restaurateurs and with their support and encouragement; we will establish a great new addition to the beer category.

Q: Apart from the Indian curry market, who else are you targeting? A: We represent two other Asian beers. A beer that we import from China called Pearl River and we import Indonesia's number one beer called Bintang. Our initial feelings are that the Chinese restaurant sector hasn’t embraced the beer menu like the British curry market has. In the majority of Chinese


INTERVIEW acknowledge what he has achieved. So now we own it, we don't plan to brainwash anyone to take Kingfisher. What we want to do is celebrate that it's Curry Week. We've got a massive programme of events and activities. Through our network, we want to engage everybody. It's not about making money at all. The Kingfisher element will be relatively light but we will play our part in celebrating the week. We've got a lot of partners who want to create recipes and cook books. I think it's going to grow and grow and grow. Street food festivals, world record breaking attempts

Q: What’s your relationship with other beer brands? A: Heineken own 43%t of Kingfisher in India, which gives Heineken the chance to establish the Heineken brand as a true international brand and can create a footprint in Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, and Bangalore. However whilst Heineken don't own Kingfisher in the UK, we do work very closely with them because we know them and they are good people and they are the UK's biggest brewer & cider maker. Currently we buy services from Heineken they brew our beer for us. They provide guidance and insights into parts of the marketplace. What you see more and more is restaurateurs selling more than one brand. So from a Heineken point of view, they know that Kingfisher is their partner in the Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi sector. We work with them on the best cool flow technology in the world. The dispense equipment we put in is second to none.

Q: What about other niche markets?

restaurants, it's about small bottles and low prices. I think they are missing an opportunity. No doubt the Indian restaurants could teach the Chinese a thing or two about how to sell beer.

A: Cider is never going to be a massive part of an Indian restaurant's beer business. At best it will be ten per cent of total sales but there's a market that people want for cider. Cider is very crisp and refreshing and highly

Q: What are your important markets? A: Around 80 per cent of what we sell is to Curry restaurants and this will always be our priority and the core to our business. However as the Indian restaurant sector gets tougher, we aim to grow in other places. So in the pubs that we are in, we always link it with curry. If you've got 25,000 pubs in the UK selling curry, not many of them sell Indian beer so that's the link we are trying to generate.

Q: What are you doing to support the UK curry market? A: I wouldn't for a minute question our commitment to the curry sector. We've just bought the trademark for National Curry Week so that's now the property of Kingfishers and we're going to work with the best sponsors, the best partners, suppliers in the industry to make it the bigger and better. A lot of respect needs to be given to the late Peter Grove, who was passionate about our industry. He built National Curry Week into a national event. When Peter passed away, his family spoke with us about the event and their inability to run it without his expertise so we have effectively bought that trademark from his family. We have committed to commemorate Peter's memory every year to

Three beer brand imported from China, Indonesia and Sri Lanka by Kingfisher Beer Europe.


INTERVIEW profitable. So where we are selling it, is selling very well. If you took Gymkhana as one of the pinnacles of Indian dining, the only cider they sell is peacock. That shows the quality of the product.

Q: Can you talk about up and coming developments? A: For the rest of 2018 it will be about making a success of Bombay Bicycle, building our marketing plans around this summer’s cricket and supporting National Curry Week, We begin planning 2019 after the summer and our priority will continue to be committed to supporting our restaurant partners and celebrating our heritage. 2019 represents our 30th year of Kingfisher being sold in the UK.

this summer. We will be very active during that period. The Formula One season has started and Kingfisher is sponsoring a car and also sponsoring three teams in the Indian Continent premier football teams. Kingfisher sponsors the Indian Derby, the premier horse-racing event of the country.

Q: How can we prepare for the future?

Q: How essential is the UK curry market to you? A: We take it extremely seriously. There's a direct correlation: the industry's performance impacts our performance. Every UK town has a Kingfisher representative who is able to talk with restaurateurs, talk with them, support and invest with them regarding dispense, fridges, point of sale, glassware, and special offers. At ground level, we have a very good support network. At a top line level, I don't think there are many suppliers in our industry who do more than we try and do. So whether it is trade press, industry bodies, events, local community, charities, regional meetings, and fundraisers - we are contributing.

A: The Bangladeshi community has left a truly global footprint on the Indian curry industry. If I was giving a message on the next five years, my biggest concern is that we are not engaging in the right way with the next generation of younger consumers. I think that consumers under 35 are eating and living in a different way than we were 10 or 15 years ago. There is so much competition on the high street now from grab-and-go Subway sandwiches through to Wagamama, street food, Korean, Turkish, Thai. So I think we are losing relevance to the younger generation. I fear that everyone's competing too hard on takeaways. The margins are becoming tighter and tighter. Continuous improvement is really important. Embracing Technology is just the start I think people have to make progress every year. What two or three things are they doing in 2019 that they weren’t doing in 2018?

Q: on a personal level, what have you gained? A: I've been at Kingfisher for nine years now. It's a fantastic industry. I hope people don't lose what makes the restaurants great which are super food and really friendly service, warmth, friendship and community. I love it and I'm really proud to be part of it.

Q: Is the sporting world important to the company? A: Sponsorships are a big part of creating demand. Kingfisher is first and foremost a sports property. The IPL cricket league has just finished and we sponsor six teams. England is playing Indian and Pakistan this summer in the UK


What makes a winning cleaning routine? Just Eat restaurant partners can enjoy exclusive access to the best cleaning offers, advice and information. It goes without saying that hygiene and cleanliness are important to any restaurant operation. You know it, your customers know it. Proof can be found in recent research which has shown that curry restaurants with a rating of 5 from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) have up to 36% higher weekly sales than those with a rating of 1. We know you’ve already got this, as many Indian restaurants on Just Eat already have a rating of 3 or above on their Food Safety Rating. This shows just how seriously you take this. But whatever your current rating, let us help you either improve or maintain your existing FSA rating.

Your one-stop shop for FSA info That’s where the Just Eat Food Hygiene Hub comes in. Think of it as a tool to guide you through your FSA process. You’ll find tips on how to get started, and how to prepare for your inspection. Discover just what an Environmental Health Officer (EHO) will be looking for in their inspection, and how to maximise your chances of achieving a high rating. The Food Hygiene Hub will help with all your food safety questions. It’s also where you can find the latest food safety updates from across the hospitality and curry industries that you might need to be aware of. To find out more, visit

Experts in making it easier Taking things a step further, you might like to consider brushing up your knowledge with NSF. As one of the UK’s leading public health and safety organisations in food safety, NSF offer training courses from just £10 for Just Eat Partners. Choose from a series of online training courses, to in-person coaching from expert consultants; their personalised, individual services will help to improve your score. Check out ‘training’ in the Food Hygiene Hub at

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Lord Bilimoria is presented another 7 medals at this year’s Monde Selection awards in Valencia, taking the Cobra total to 101 Gold Medals.

Cobra Beer hits record-breaking 101 gold medals with 7 new medals at Monde Selection Awards Cobra Beer reached the ultimate achievement at the Monde Selection Awards, where it was presented with its 101st gold medal at last month’s ceremony. The 7 new medals won this year mean Cobra Beer has become one of the most highly-awarded beers in the world since it first entered the competition in 2001. Among the five Grand Gold medals presented to Cobra Beer was an award for the new Malabar Blond IPA – the first ever Cobra Beer ale – which takes its inspiration from the Beautiful Malabar coast of Karnataka, the state in which Cobra Beer was first brewed. Cobra Beer’s King Cobra (Bottle, 75cl) has also been awarded with the International High-Quality Trophy for

2018. King Cobra has now won gold awards for high quality at the Monde Selection Awards for 3 consecutive years. The annual Awards ceremony took place at the City of Arts and Sciences, one of Valencia, Spain’s most outstanding landmarks. Brewed with the finest natural ingredients, a traditional Indian blend of barley malt, maize, three varieties of hops, wheat, and rice, Cobra Beer’s unique recipe and low carbonation gives the range its distinctive character and smoothness that makes it the perfect accompaniment to curry and cuisines from around the world. Lord Bilimoria CBE DL, Founder and Chairman of Cobra Beer, who received the medals and trophies at


the Award Ceremony in Valencia, said: “The Monde Selection Awards are one of the most prestigious quality awards in the brewing industry, and Cobra Beer is now one of the highestawarded beers in the world, bringing its total number of awards to over 100 at this year’s competition, with five Grand Gold and two Gold awards presented this year. Our first-ever Blond IPA, Malabar, has received one of the industry’s highest endorsements in less than a year after its release. The full credit must go to our fantastic team of brewers who are committed to ensuring that Cobra Beer maintains its highest levels of gold medal-winning quality to satisfy our consumers.”


The Cobra Beer journey: latest news Cobra Beer Founder is awarded Business Leader of the Decade at the UK & Asia Business Awards. Lord Bilimoria, Founder and Chairman of Cobra Beer, was awarded Business Leader of the Decade In a ceremony in London on the 17th of May. Lord Bilimoria was quoted as a pillar of strength and tower of motivation for global leaders and was awarded the accolade for his outstanding contributions towards economic growth and transforming businesses. Lord Bilimoria stated at the award ceremony “an extraordinary brand lives by and never compromises on its principles”. The award was won alongside other prominent Indian-origin businessmen and women including Lord Swraj Paul, who received the Lifetime Achievement award.

Cobra launches new pint glass design Cobra Beer is always doing new and innovative things in the market, whether its launching a new product in Malabar Blond IPA, or innovative new glassware. One of the most important items of point of sale in a restaurant is branded glassware. Cobra Beer launched an innovative new design glassware in 2016, with special design elements which optimise the pouring angle to release Cobra Beer’s distinct aromatics – the Smooth Pour Glass. Prints on the glass also told the story of Cobra Beer’s origins and its journey from the brand’s founding story, when Lord Bilimoria drove around London in a battered old Citroen 2CV delivering the crates of Cobra to the first Cobra Beer customers. In April 2018, Cobra Beer launched the new version of their now iconic glass. This glass continues with the Cobra Beer Story, focusing on Cobra Beer’s characteristic smoothness: the beer is brewed smooth to complement all food and cuisines. The design and story on the glass highlights this journey that Cobra has embarked on. Cobra Beer will be launching more versions of the glass, which will move the Cobra Beer journey forward.

Lord Bilimoria speaks at this year’s International Business Festival

Lord Bilimoria spoke on the Manufacturing stage on Wednesday 20th June at this year’s International

Business Festival. The International Business Festival took place in Liverpool, convening over 200


speakers over nine days. Lord Bilimoria spoke on the manufacturing day, celebrating excellence in the manufacturing sector and highlighting the importance of food and drink manufacturing to the UK economy. The food and drink industry is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, contributing £28.2bn to the economy annually and employing 400,000 people. Indian restaurants are a key part of the food and drink sector in the UK. Lord Bilimoria said, “Manufacturing is a central part of the UK economy and contributes more to R&D investment than any other sector. Indian businesses and investors play a huge role in the UK’s manufacturing sector in all areas of the country, including the innovative belts in the Midlands Engine and the Northern Powerhouse.”

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Dosa WorlD Flavours of south India inspire the world of Banglatown ready for the lunchtime customers.” “Our most popular dishes are lamb curry, chicken biriyani, cauliflower manchuria and brinjal masala. We get people from all over the world eating here – tourists, Asian people and Eastern Europeans.”

So much to choose from


troll down Banglatown towards Whitechapel and you’ll see the famous local landmark of the giant Crane by Belgian artist ROA. It’s a wellloved piece of community art that was threatened just before the 2012 Olympic Games, when Tower Hamlets Council attempted to cover it up with a banner. Locals and tourists alike are passionate about food and art. Take a window seat in Dosa World on Hanbury Street and you will have the best views of street art that the East End has to offer. A much beloved eaterie for many years, this restaurant has a comprehensive menu that will keep vegetarians and meat lovers happy. There’s a range of lamb, chicken and seafood specialities to choose from. Manager Mohammed Ansar, who was born in Sri Lanka says they have been open for more than seven years. He takes pride in using the local produce. “We go to the market in Banglatown and open the kitchens at 11am to prepare the food so we are


At the top of the menu is Rasam soup, the essence of Kerala and Madras, a peppery lentil broth laced with tomatoes, spices, tamarind and garlic. Also known as King Soup, probably because of its top-notch properties to cure ailments like colds, or add to cheer to rainy days. It can also be served over a bowl of hot basmati rice. My companion, who is a vegetarian, was delighted to see so many vegetarian dishes. She was spoilt for choice, so took her time before deciding on the Methu Vada for starters. She’d not had this before and was intrigued by this savoury, deep-friend doughnut, flavoured with onions, green chilli and peppercorns. “Soft, squidgy and spicy” was her verdict. I was tempted by the chicken starter, marinated in a hot, spicy butter and cornflour, garnished with fried onions. But the Fish Pakoda drew my eye, and I was not disappointed with my choice. It could easily have been a main dish, as there were at least six, if not more, portions of fish. I bit into the crunchy batter and savoured the taste of delicate seafood, accompanied by a crisp green bed of salad. Adding to the taste was a creamy coconut relish and minty raita.

REVIEW Canteen-style cuisine Our visit to Brick Lane shone a light on the nature of the restaurant business on Brick Lane. We arrived early, at around 6.45pm, to an empty restaurant. By the time we had reached the main course, a party of seven people, on holiday from India, came in and soon the piles of paratha were being devoured by these hungry tourists. Soon after, a young couple came in, looking like they’d just finished art school. These were followed by two cool dudes, perhaps working in the digital arts arena. That’s what I love about Brick Lane, the cosmopolitan mix of people. Dosa World was indeed a snapshot of the planet, with Indian, American, Chinese, Malaysian Chinese and White people sitting side by side, brought together by the sights and smells of samosas, special thalis and strawberry lassi. A connoisseur of cheesy dishes, my companion chose the Paneer Masala. Perfect cubes of fromage, which seemed larger than I had seen in other restaurants. This was accompanied by a Koththu Paratha, made on the griddle with onions, green chilli, ground pepper and mixed vegetables. Other alternatives were the Chicken and Mutton Paratha, with a filling that included eggs and onions.

originating from the Udupi town of present-day Karnataka. Whatever its geographic or historical origins, the dosa is a firm favourite in Brick Lane. My choice for this esteemed dish was the Prawn Masala Dosa. I love the delicate fan of the dosa, spreading out over the edges of the plate. Its exuberance is captivating. The flavours popped out, fresh and vibrant. Seafood and potato is an excellent combination. Very filling as well.

Mutton made in heaven So much so, I could only look with longing at other dishes on the menu such as the Pattinam Erachi Kurma, a speciality of T. R. Pattinam - in the Karaikal District of Puducherry, India – lamb cooked with garam masala, nuts, cream and coriander leaves. Although I was replete with dosa, who can resist Gulab Jamun, those glistening, succulent spheres soaked in delicious sugar syrup. I missed out on the Erachi Ulathiyathu, which according to the menu was “Lamb cooked in a way as never been seen before, presented dry and spiced with peppers, coriander and chilli.” That will have to wait until my next visit, which I imagine shouldn’t be too far away. 46 Hanbury St, London E1 5JL, 020 7377 0344

An ancient dish Of course, I couldn’t visit Dosa World without having a dosa. This traditional south Indian dish is similar to a crepe in appearance and made from a fermented batter, with main ingredients of rice and black gram. Apparently, the fermentation process increases the vitamin B and vitamin C content. It’s also a very ancient dish. According to food historian K. T. Achaya, the dosa was already in use in ancient Tamil country from around the 1st century AD. Historian P. Thankappan Nair, credits the dosa with



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There are literally hundreds of Indian restaurants in the South Midlands region – of varying quality – so a little research is needed if you want to be sure of having a top dining experience. That’s why, if you’re ever near Northampton and are feeling a bit peckish, you’d be well advised to look up one of the town’s best kept secrets - the Mumtaz Lounge. 42

REVIEW Nestling in an ordinary-looking high road, the food and service on offer at Mumtaz are far from ordinary – which is all the more surprising given that just a few months ago the restaurant would have featured among the less attractive options on offer. But over the past few months the eatery has undergone a major transformation – not just to the building itself but also to the menu and the quality of service. On our visit, we tried both traditional and modern takes on favourite dishes and were impressed by the attention of staff as well as the speed and accuracy of the service provided. Requests for different levels of spicing for various dishes were met with a knowing nod as were changes in our choices as we went along. In the end we plumped for a mixed starter, as this offered an opportunity to sample a melange of ingredients cooked in different ways. This included something modestly titled Mumtaz Unique, comprising marinated and chicken and lamb, first grilled in a clay oven and then stir fried with garlic, onion, capsicum and mushrooms – topped off with a touch of cheese. There was also room on the plate for Caskola – a thin wrap containing minced chicken and lamb lightly cooked and spiced – as well as a few bites of Salmon Tikka and diced chicken in a Murgh Sati. It all made for a tasty, and filling, starter so go easy on the papodoms and nan breads unless you’re feeling especially hungry. Given a slight break, and a couple of pallet cleansing drinks from the bar, we still managed to tuck into our mains – which were again chosen with a blend of traditional and modern dishes in mind. Under the modern heading was a medium spiced Mexican slow-cooked lamb – accompanied by any style of rice you like but in this case some plain steamed rice. Well cooked in rich garlic, coriander and onion sauce – with fresh spinach and chickpeas – the meat worked well

with the plain rice. It was one of those sauces that just had to be mopped up with some of the lurking nan bread, despite the full stomach. The other main was a Deshi Biryani, in this case with chicken but also available with lamb. Described as a ‘Bangladeshi homestyle dish’, and accompanied by basamati rice, the vegetable curry set off the meat a treat in a portion that definitely lived up to the description ‘plentiful’. These were just two dishes in a very varied menu offering everything from specials such as the aptly named, spicy Bengal Flame with either chicken or lamb to traditional fare like Korma, Rogan, Buna and Jalfrezi offerings. One way of sampling as much as possible would be to try the all-day Sunday buffet which offered no fewer than 22 items. That buffet is priced at an incredible £10 but even the a la carte menu is extremely keenly priced - with our meals coming in at a bit over £20 a person including drinks – summing up owner Niton Islam’s philosophy since taking over the restaurant in the Spring and completely transforming Mumtaz’s fortunes. He explains: “You have to be good to thrive in such a competitive business and we’ve done this by completely redesigning everything from the look of the restaurant to the menu itself over the past few months. “As a result we are becoming well known locally and feel it’s very important to be part of the local community – so we are helping out with local causes like homelessness and are getting involved in a fundraiser for this very good cause. “Having said that, we realise that we stand or fall by the quality of our food and service and we also seem to be gaining a positive reputation from that point of view.” Looks like Mumtaz is becoming the word in Northampton. Mumtaz Lounge, 187 Kettering Road, Northampton NN1 4BP, Tel: 01604 624405


fEATURE CURRY LIFE readers been demanding for long to include an article on food in Bangla. From this issue we will be publishing an article on food from the top Bangladeshi Food & Lifestyle magazine CANVAS. We hope our Bengali readres will like it. CANVAS magazine will also publish interesting features from Curry Life magazine from next issue for their Bangladeshi readers..

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In this issue we have included a feature about food from the Sylhet region of Bangladesh. “Surma Parer Shad” means “Taste from the banks of Surma river” written by journalist Samiur Rahman.


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Health benefits of the BAEL fruit


ael is an ancient fruit, well known in Indian culture, as it is often planted around temples and considered sacred by Hindus. This tree is said to have many medicinal properties. The fruit is hard, woody and smooth with sweet orange flesh inside that can be eaten either fresh or dried. Many have likened it to a mixture of papaya, mango and lime, with a slight bitter aftertaste. Bael fruit, also known as Bengal quince, golden apple, wood apple, or Japanese bitter orange, contains protein, betacarotene, vitamins, thiamine, riboflavin and vitamin C. In the book Foods That Heal by H K Bakhru, the bael tree is one of the most useful medicinal plants of India. Its fruit is said to help with constipation, diarrhoea, dysentery, peptic ulcers and respiratory complaints

AVAILABILITy oF BAEL The fruit is plentiful, usually in the month of May to July, across India and South-east Asia. In India, bael is considered as a holy fruit associated with Lord Shiva and Parvati. It is found across India in lower Himalayas, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa , Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Haryana and Punjab. This fruit is also found in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Egypt and the Caribbean Islands.

TRADITIonAL USE oF BAEL Use of bael is found abundantly in north India. It is usually sold as a refreshing drink by street vendors who call it as bael sherbet. In some parts of Punjab, the dried Bael powder is used in making Bael Panjiri. Being a seasonal fruit, the availability of bael is for a limited time and most of us

don’t make the best use of it, either due to the unpopularity of the fruit or because of religious taboo. Even the lack of knowledge of using it, makes bael an under-used fruit in the culinary world. Generally, in India the use of bael has been very much restricted in making sherbet or else used as a medicine, whereas this amazing fruit can be used in many more ways. Bael has been a much maligned fruit due to its unappealing nature and also because it takes some effort to process it. However, many health benefits are attributed to it.

A VERSATILE MEDICInE Bael is an inexpensive and highly nutritious fruit with high amounts of fibre, carbohydrates, potassium and vitamin B1 and B2. There are claims that it can help with asthma, bronchitis and jaundice. Since time immemorial, bael has been used since antiquity for its versatile medicinal properties. Centuries ago, it was used to treat fractured bones, with a mixture of dried bael, turmeric and ghee applied to the affected part of the body. Inflammations have been treated by applying bael extract over the inflamed area. And various infections can be treated by consuming bael. Bael contains phenolic compounds which play an important role in cancer prevention and treatment. Bael oil is also used for respiratory problems such as asthma, coughs and cold. Regular consumption of bael is said to keep the digestive system strong by removing toxins from the intestines. However, excessive consumption of bael is not good for the stomach as it causes constipation. It should also be avoided by women during pregnancy.


THE USE oF BAEL : A modern approach Using bael as an ingredient in modern dishes is gaining in popularity. When selecting fruit for use in recipes make sure: • It is round in shape. • A smooth surface without any marks or cracks. • Thin rind with a straw-yellow colour. Opening the hard shell is done by using the back of a knife or a hammer to break it open into two halves. Scoop out the orange coloured pulp, along with the seeds and fibrous

material. Add a small amount of water and pass it through a strainer to separate the pulp from the seeds and thick fibre. The pulp can be used in various recipes, and can last up to a week if kept refrigerated. The recipes for the dishes are vegetarian, making them suitable for Hindus. Hinduism does not require a vegetarian diet, but many Hindus avoid eating meat because they believe that it minimises hurting other life forms.. The correct blend of ingredients will eliminate the bitter aftertaste of bael, making the dishes taste delicious.


RECIPE Bael FRUiT cURd TaRT Melt-in-the-mouth bael fruit tart filled with a silky bael fruit curd and dash of lemon



FOR SHORT CRUST SWEET PASTE Unsalted Butter (Chilled).......................................................120g Flour ...................................................................................120g Icing Sugar ...........................................................................60g Bael Pulp .............................................................................60g FOR THE BAEL CURD Butter ................................................................................100 ml Castor Sugar .......................................................................100g Lime Juice ...........................................................................30ml Bael Pulp .............................................................................60g


Chef Santosh Malkoti


METHoD oF PREPARATIon : 1. FOR THE SWEET PASTE: Mix flour with chilled butter followed by the icing sugar, and bael pulp, combine together to form sweet paste dough. Refrigerate for 30 mins. 2. Grease tart shells with butter, spread the sweet paste in the tart shell and blind bake for 20 mins. 3. FOR THE BAEL CURD : cook butter, sugar, lime juice and bael pulp over a double boiler until thick. Allow to cool and later set in the refrigerator for 25 mins 4. Fill the cooled tart shells with bael curd and serve cold with a garnish of mint sprig and dusting of icing sugar.



RECIPE Bael FRUiT & almoNd caKe Vegetarian oven baked, Bael fruit and Almond cake



BUTTER .............................................................................100g CASTOR SUGAR ...............................................................100g ALMOND FLOUR.................................................................100g REFINED FLOUR ................................................................50g BAKING POWDER ...............................................................10g MILK ..................................................................................100ml LIME ZEST ...........................................................................05g BAEL PULP ........................................................................100g

Chef Sandip Madkaikar FOR THE SYRUP GRAIN SUGAR ...................................................................50g WATER ...............................................................................100ml BAEL PULP ..........................................................................50g


METHoD oF PREPARATIon : 1. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. 2. Fold in almond flour with refined flour and baking powder. 3. Prepare the cake batter by incorporating milk and pulp mixture slowly, add lime zest and bake in a greased mould at 180 degree Celsius for 25 mins. 4. Let the cake cool, pour hot syrup over the cake and serve warm with dusting of icing sugar and mint sprig.


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CURRY LIFE is a bi-monthly restaurant magazine distributed to almost all Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani restaurant in the United Kingdom...


CURRY LIFE is a bi-monthly restaurant magazine distributed to almost all Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani restaurant in the United Kingdom...