Gulu Anand Talks to Tandoori

Posted on Movers and Shakers Jun 2011 - by Tandoori Magazine
Gulu Anand Talks to Tandoori

Proprietor of famed restaurant The Brilliant in west London’s Southall, which specialises in authentic and highly flavoursome Punjabi-style cooking, talks to Tandoori

 

The Brilliant opened in 1975. How have you see the restaurant change since then?

It was originally a 36-seater restaurant and we have extended it six times since then to what is now a 250-seater establishment. We have had a tremendous amount of coverage and award recognition, not to mention a great following amongst the public, royalty, celebrities and yes, plenty of exposure on Gordon Ramsay’s programmes. The food side had remained authentic but we have also made a point of introducing “healthy option” dishes on the menu.

 

You have a very strong and loyal team at the restaurant, not to mention your son Shankar and your daughter Dipna. How does that make you feel?

Very proud indeed because most restaurant businesses don’t have the luxury of family backing and support. Shankar and Dipna work very closely with the head chef and the rest of the staff. They are always coming up with new ideas. We don’t always agree as they are a new generation and want to implement things very fast, but then I admire that in them.

 

As you look back, what has been the single most proudest moment at the restaurant?

It was the second visit made by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. He had been once before but when I wrote to him to come again, specially on Diwali day, he obliged. I was so moved by that.

 

In your view, what does it take to run a good restaurant business?

It’s not just one thing but the whole package. The food is just one aspect. The service, ambience as well ensuring that your staff are right and that you can train and retain them, plus being able to balance the books, is all part of the mix. You really need to be on your toes in this business.

 

What’s a typical day for you?

I get up around 8am and the first thing I do is to switch on the television. I make myself a good cup of Indian tea and by 9.30am I’m ready to leave and arrive at the restaurant about 11am. The staff tend to follow soon after. I look at what the agenda is for the day, how many bookings we have, go through the post, meet with the chef to see what’s required and if there are any issues to be dealt with along with doing the accounts. The restaurant opens for lunch at mid-day and I’ll have my lunch then. I come home at about 3.30pm and enjoy one of my favourite pastimes which is karaoke for an hour. I’ll keep any appointments for that afternoon and then arrive back at the restaurant for 5.30pm and be ready for the evening shift. I love to interact with the customers and ensure everything is running smoothly, staying at the restaurant till quite late.

 

What are your hobbies?

Asdie from karaoke, I play golf and am fanatical about cricket.

 

What do you like to eat and drink?

I love eating traditional Indian food, but also enjoy Chinese cooking. I don’t drink.

 

How would you like to be remembered?

As one of a kind!

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