Kocchar heads for Brum

Chef-entrepreneur Atul Kocchar will open his first UK restaurant under the Not Real Indian (NRI) brand in Birmingham this September, serving cuisine developed by Indian cooks living abroad.

Born in India and trained with the Oberoi group, Kocchar made him name at Tamarind in London and in 2003 opened his Mayfair flagship Benares. He launched NRI in Mumbai last year, and in January opened his first restaurant dedicated to traditional British cuisine – albeit with the occasional spicy twist – Hawkyns, in Amersham.

The new 180-seat venture in Birmingham’s Mailbox development will serve such dishes as Sri Lankan curry, Malaysian-Indian curried noodles, and British-Indian spiced fish and chips.

Kocchar’s foodie empire now stretches from London to Mumbai via Spain, Dubai and P&O cruise ships. There are some indications that quality has suffered as a result, with ratings for Benares plummeting in the latest Harden’s Survey although fans still laud the “subtle, gorgeous flavours” of Kocchar’s cuisine.

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