Bristol Thali Company to open fifth restaurant as 'blueprint' for expansion

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Restaurant

The Bristol Thali Company currently operates four café restaurants in Bristol - including one on Regent Street in Clifton
The Bristol Thali Company currently operates four café restaurants in Bristol - including one on Regent Street in Clifton
The Bristol Thali Company is set to open its biggest restaurant to date this week with a view to expanding further and opening its first UK venue outside Bristol by the end of the year.

The 140-cover eatery in the Southville area of the south west city is a significant step up in size of site for the firm, founded in 1999, which currently operates four Bristol restaurants - all between 70-80 covers.

Bespoke

Speaking to BigHospitality, Jim Pizer, one of the founding directors of the business, said the latest restaurant would feature a new menu and interior design and would serve as a 'blueprint' for further expansion for the company.

"From now on this will be the type of site we are looking for; the right location, one floor and a joined-up bar and kitchen," said Pizer. "If this model works we will perhaps look for our first site outside of Bristol near the end of the year or the start of next year.

"We will draw a 50-mile radius outside Bristol and search within that area for any suitable sites. Our plan is to keep it (the business) quite bespoke but we would like to see it develop and grow to 10 or so restaurants - I think we could do that and retain the character," he added.

Tiffin Takeaway Club

The Bristol Thali Company was originally founded as an event caterer supplying pan-Asian cuisine to visitors to Glastonbury Festival.

However the company launched its first permanent Thali Café in the Montpelier area of north Bristol in 2001. Since then the team have opened three further restaurants.

The latest opening will feature a new menu focusing on south Indian cuisine mainly Dhaba (small plates to start or to share) and Thali (a meal made up of various dishes including vegetable subji, Basmati rice, tarka dahl, Keralan salad and mint raita.

The new site, which has been made possible following a £100k finance package from HSBC supported by the Government's Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) scheme, will feature a new layout - the restaurant will boast industrial lighting, a larger main bar and no open kitchen.

One element of the business which will remain is the company's Tiffin Takeaway Club, an innovative takeaway offering where diners can purchase their own Indian-style, metal takeaway container which can be refilled for £8.50 a time. 

"We will be open all day and all evening," Pizer explained. "We have got quite a strong takeaway following in this postcode area already. We have been going for seven years and we have got in the region of 10,000 members who have bought their own individual tiffin tin."

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