Singh, who bought back the five-strong Mela Restaurant Group from the company he sold it to in 2008, has spent the last three months re-focusing the two brands – Mela and Chowki and coming up with a strategy that will see regional Indian food festivals become a key part of the business.
Under his plans Singh sees Mela, which currently has three sites, as a mid-market high street Indian brand. Chowki meanwhile, which currently just operates from one site in Denman Street in London, will be a place to showcase regional Indian food.All restaurants will have an emphasis on serving ‘proper Indian food’.
“The English market is no longer a Chicken Tikka Masala market,” he said “The English can take proper Indian food now, tastes have evolved.
“So we’ll have two types of restaurant. Chowki will showcase the cuisines of three different regions every quarter, which will educate people about how we eat in different regions.
“Mela is a typical high street restaurant serving proper Indian food, but with a difference in that it will host food festivals highlighting new cuisines and styles from different regions alongside the regular menu.”
Singh, who is both chief executive and executive chef of the group, told BigHospitality he was pleased to once again own the restaurants he sold to Indian Restaurant Group in 2008 and was already looking at expanding the company.
“I have lived and breathed Mela since I launched our first restaurant and was sorry to have left. However I’m very excited about the future and bringing our fabulous food to new markets and new customers," he said.
"I want us to grow very soon. We are currently looking at a property for a new restaurant, but it is still in the initial stages. I want to look into Leicester, Birmingham and Manchester in particular for Chowki. I think Chowki is more of a city concept while Mela is more of a restaurant for the suburbs."