The Gujarati Rasoi

YV4A2645It is a common saying – Never do business with family and friends. But for Lalita Patel and Urvesh Parvais, there is no one else they would rather work with.

This mother and son duo went into business in 2005, when Urvesh, convinced that his mum’s cooking is the best, decided to test that theory out.

“Every boy thinks his mum’s cooking is the best. Once I left home, I quickly realized that eating out my experience wasn’t the same. That continued for about 15 years!” recounted Urvesh.

“I invited about 15 people to come home and test the food. I always knew there was value in my mum’s cooking, but I needed to know if others thought that too! After the meal, they all said I should definitely do something with it, so my suspicions were confirmed,” remembered a beaming Urvesh.

Following the successful test run, Lalita and Urvesh decided to go ahead with project Gujarati Rasoi and opened a stall in the local food market in Broadway market.

Their formula of fresh home cooked vegetarian food proved to be an instant success and made the stall at Broadway market a hit.

Their customers were intrigued by this unique Indian cuisine and as their popularity grew, Lalita and Urvesh decided to open an additional stalls in Borough and Exmouth food markets.

The Restaurant

YV4A2649After experiencing similar success at the other stalls as well, the next logical step was to open a restaurant and so, on the auspicial Indian day of Diwali in late 2012, the duo opened their shop in East London.

“We were doing the markets, festivals, basically trying different things to get the word out and this was the final leap in the journey… the leap of faith if you may,” said Urvesh.

Based in at Dalston, the restaurant is small and humble. Various ingredients decorate the interior and the space has an open kitchen.

Urvesh, who used to be a designer, developed the look for the restaurant. The idea was to give it the feel of a kitchen at home.

The restaurant is currently only open from Thursday to Saturday and has a different menu every week.

“The concept is to have a home experience. You don’t eat the same thing every day at home, so we try to change it as often as we can,” explained Urvesh.

The duo decides the menu weekly and has a small and friendly staff to help them out for the three days of operation.

Madhur Jaffrey 2Working With Mum

So then what is it like working with your mum?

“It is good fun! When we first started working together we clashed a little bit. She and I are both creative people and so we often had our own ideas of how things should be done,” remembered Urvesh.

“But we have developed a good working relationship since and I have absolute respect for what she does. I put her up on a pedestal and without her all this wouldn’t be the same,” added Urvesh.

Madhur Jaffrey Experience

The restaurant’s growing popularity brought them under the radar of famed food writer, Madhur Jaffrey.

After spending time with the mother and son duo, she decided to feature the restaurant in her ‘Curry Nation’ Good Food Channel TV series and cookbook.

AppleLRG“It was a great experience. She came, tasted the food and gave us the best compliment possible,” revealed Urvesh.

“She said that it is just like eating at home. Here is a 79-year-old woman telling me that our food is exactly like her home’s – that is exactly what we are aiming to do,” added a gleeful Urvesh.

What Next?

“At the Borough market we made a rage of food items, which we plan to retail. So that is the next project on the cards,” informed Urvesh.

There is also a plan to have the restaurant open for more than the three days it is currently, and if things progress well then even move to a bigger space.

So a rapidly growing business gaining critical and public acclaim, for these reasons and more, Gujarati Rasoi has been picked by Food and Beverage News to be part of our ‘TOP 5 That Thrive’.

Article by Mahir Prasad, Senior Journalist and Content Manager at FAB News

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