Tamarind Collection eyes Imli Street roll-out

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Street food, Restaurant

The new-look Imli Street restaurant could be the template for a roll-out of the brand, says Tamarind Collection chief executive Rajesh Suri
The new-look Imli Street restaurant could be the template for a roll-out of the brand, says Tamarind Collection chief executive Rajesh Suri
Restaurant group Tamarind Collection has outlined its plans for the year ahead, which include rolling out its Indian street food restaurant Imli Street and gaining a Michelin star for company newcomer Zaika.

The company, which also owns the Michelin-starred Tamarind of Mayfair in London and Tamarind of London, at Newport Beach, California, re-opened Imli Street in Soho last month following a major refurbishment.

The 130-cover restaurant has existed on the Wardour Street site for the last seven years, and was performing well, but needed an overhaul ‘to take it to the next level’ according to chief executive Rajesh Suri.

He said: "We have to evolve with the time. The hospitality industry is moving very fast, so we are making sure we stay ahead of the game and are able to deliver more.

"As a company we spend a lot of time and effort researching and developing the food we serve. Alfred (Prasad, the company's director of cuisine) visits India regularly to research different dishes and he has created a menu for Imli that takes four distinct inspirations from the Indian street food arena - Coastal Shacks, Food Carts, Railway Cuisine and Beyond Borders.

"The menu isn't like your normal Indian restaurant menu, but is designed to give an authentic flavour of India."

As well as revamping Imli Street's menu, Suri decided to give the restaurant a new look - taking inspiration from the New York loft style of interior with exposed brickwork and contemporary furnishings.

Roll-out

He said now the look and the menu had been overhauled, the company would look at rolling it out elsewhere, although there were no firm plans as yet.

"Imli is a concept," he said. "We are creating a DNA that’s easy to multiply, we think it could work elsewhere. We would look at London first - it has potential for a few more of our restaurants - but it could work in Manchester, Nottingham or Birmingham. However, there is also great potential in the US and we will look at that market too. We are always looking at developing all our restaurants."

Michelin ambitions

This year will also see Tamarind Collection re-focus Zaika, the Indian restaurant in Kensington it bought earlier this year​. Suri said a refurbishment was due for the restaurant, which was opened by Claudio Pulze in 1999 and gained a Michelin star under chef Vineet Bhatia a year later, to bring it into line with the rest of the estate.

"We are looking to redevelop Zaika as we have done with Imli Street," he said. "It was the first Indian restaurant to get a Michelin star in the UK and we would like it to win it back. Tamarind has managed to retain its Michelin star (first gained in 2001) and we believe we can use our expertise to get one also for Zaika."

Related topics: Business, Venues, Restaurants

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