04 April 2015

Business Profile: The India Gate

David McKenzie from the Forest Hill Society met co-owner Amrit in his restaurant, The India Gate takeaway and dine-in restaurant. While David got down to his meal, Amrit answered some questions about taking over The India Gate, which is located at 47 London Road next to The Butchery.

Who owns the business and how long have you been open?It’s a one-off partnership between myself and the chef, Mr Mukti. We took over the restaurant in April 2014 and kept the name. However, the menu has been completely overhauled, offering a mix of Nepalese and Indian dishes.

Are you new to restaurants? No, I’ve got a lot of experience both managing and owning Indian restaurants. I moved here from Battersea where I owned a restaurant. Prior to this, I managed three restaurants in Crystal Palace.

Is takeaway/delivery or eat-in busier? At weekends, takeaway/ delivery is much busier though the restaurant is busy, too. Part of the strategy has been to do a lot of advertising online as well as in local newspapers. This advertising has driven a lot of business to our website (www.theindiagaterestaurant.co.uk), where orders receive a 20% discount.
(Certainly, on the night I was there, the restaurant was full but still had a relaxed atmosphere.)
What are your speciality dishes?• Pokhareli Duck: Pieces of marinated duck breast cooked in a Tandoor clay oven
• Jimbu Chicken: Chicken breast cooked in typical Nepalese style with Himalayan spices (Jimbu)
• Chicken Hyderabadi: A very hot combination of chicken and mincemeat in a Hyderabadi style of tangy sauce
• Lamb Xacuti: Lamb cooked with roasted aromatic fennel seeds, cloves, star anise, black pepper, and Goan spices in coconut sauce.

What’s the chef’s background? Mr Mukti grew up in Nepal where he was formally trained as a chef. Previously, he’d worked in Delhi and Ealing Broadway. He opened three restaurants in Dubai (which is where he and Amrit met) before moving to Forest Hill last year and when we took over The India Gate.

Why Forest Hill? As mentioned earlier, I used to live in Crystal Palace so I know the area well. While living in Battersea, Forest Hill started to become well known as an up and coming area and, with family still living locally, it made sense to move back here. The area is very busy with lots of passing trade and has a great feeling and vibe.

What are your future plans? 2015 will be a consolidation year here in Forest Hill before we look to expand next year.

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