A new venue, described by the owners as ‘the first Anglo-Indian cafe and bar of its kind in the UK’ has just opened in Leicester.
The Verandah is located in Queens Road, Clarendon Park, and having soft-launched last weekend is currently offering a reduced food and drink menu for takeaway.
The cafe and bar will be slowing releasing more and more items from the full menu – with delicious-sounding options such as The Maharaja Breakfast, which is a ‘full English’ with an Indian twist.
Also soon to be available is the Railway Mutton and Railway Curry inspired by the British Raj cookbooks, as well as Moti Mahal Daal which showcases the first flavours to be brought to Britain by Moti Mahal chefs in the mid-1900s. All dishes are halal.
The Verandah aims to celebrate the culinary fusion that arose from the British Raj as well as the migration of Indian nationals to Britain in the 1900s and again after 1945.
The word ‘Verandah’ comes from the Indian word ‘Varanda’ meaning porch in Hindi. It is one of hundreds of words that were adopted by the British during their time in India.
The new venue is a family affair, having been launched by husband and wife duo Jaskaran and Ayesha Dutta, and alongside Jaskaran’s mum, Tamanna Dutta.
Ayesha, told LeicestershireLive: “At The Verandah, we are passionate about using our culinary knowledge to innovate classic Indian cuisine, as well as paying homage to the spiced dishes brought to Britain in the 20th century.
“Examples of this include our Mumbai Melt, which is our take on a grilled cheese sandwich, using masala spiced potato, and kedgeree, an Anglo-Indian dish taken from the popular Indian lentil dish called ’khichdi’ which is on our breakfast/brunch menu.”
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Sweet treats include choux buns in Indian flavours including mango lassi, gulab jambon, coconut and white chocolate.
The Verandah is exclusively serving several Indian gins and whiskeys. These include Jaisalmer Gin and Amrut whiskey. The ‘daring’ cocktail menu includes ‘Gulabi Rani’ which uses Sacred Cardamon Gin and a honey and ginger infused syrup.
Four gin and tonic creations are also available, celebrating the fact that the ‘G&T’ was invented in India.
The décor has been inspired by the real verandahs created by Indians and used by the British to serve tea, drinks and food in summer, as a respite from the humid weather.
The bookshelves, plant pots and mirrors have all drawn inspiration from this as well as the club houses which the British used during their summers in India.
Talking about why they decided to open The Verandah, Ayesha told LeicestershireLive:
“Having lived in Leeds, London, Birmingham and Leicester between us, we recognised that there is a gap nationally for a café bar which creates and celebrates this type of fusion cuisine, but also has a conceptual vibe inside from the décor and menu.
“Leicester and Queens Road in particular is the perfect place to open a place like this – with a thriving multi-cultural community, and a diverse demographic, we are so excited to welcome all in a safe space.”
As well as creating a hub of good food and drinks, Ayesha hopes The Verandah will also become a space to showcase and promote British Indian talents.
There are plans to hold panel talks, discussions and presentations on topics of local and community interest.
The Verandah is currently open from 9am until 9pm from Tuesday to Saturday, and from 11am until 8.30pm on Sunday.
At the moment, it is open for takeaway collections only, but a delivery service will be available via Uber Eats and Deliveroo by the end of the year.