Shop Local: South Woodford restaurant aims for Michelin-star despite rough patch as it enters Tier 3
- Credit: Child PR
Despite having to move to Tier 3 restrictions and stop indoor service, a South Woodford owner is still aiming to be the first east London fine dining Indian restaurant to get a coveted Michelin-star.
Rajesh Suri, the owner of the popular Grand Trunk Road, which recently earned the best fine dining gong at the Asian Curry Awards for the third year in a row, is bullish about the future of his restaurant and the hospitality sector.
He said: "We are here to look after people and they are eager for life to return to normal and to go out and enjoy themselves."
The Recorder caught up with Rajesh on the eve of London going back into lockdown and though he said this year has been an especially challenging one he is ready to pivot again to take-away and welcome customers back inside as soon as it is safe to do so.
He said: "This year has been a bumpy ride but the support we have received has been phenomenal."
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After almost 30 years working in fine dining restaurants in Mayfair, Rajesh opened Grand Trunk Road in November 2016 along with chef Dayashankar Sharma as they saw a lack of fine dining options in the suburbs of east London.
As soon as the restaurant was able to re-open following the first lockdown they implemented a number of safety measures to reduce the contact between staff and customers as much as possible and did temperature checks as soon as people arrived.
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They restructured their kitchen, put in partitions in some tables to give an added layer of security and reduced capacity by 20 seats.
Rajesh said between October and December are normally the best months for the restaurant and he was forced to let a couple staff members go and some others have been switched to part-time or are on furlough.
Still he is confident that once enough people get vaccinated customers will return to get a taste of chef Dayashankar's creative cooking which Rajesh described as "maintaining an impeccable quality while also being innovative."
He offered some advice for his fellow restaurant owners to stay positive and that the industry will bounce back as people are clamouring for a return to normalcy.
To treat yourself to a fine dining meal at home you can order off their takeaway menu.