A Wok Through India: 'Kalash Divine Indian' restaurant in UK

The popular Indian restaurant is introducing the British palate to the wonders of lesser-known traditional food.
Ranjeet Singh and Alvino Cardozo at  'Kalash Divine Indian' restaurant in UK
Ranjeet Singh and Alvino Cardozo at 'Kalash Divine Indian' restaurant in UK

Kalash Divine Indian sits at the bottom of Lord Street, Southport, away from the milling crowds and hungry, sun-soaked tourists eager for quintessential English seaside fare.

Next door to the restaurant, a cafe window boasts ‘traditional English breakfast’—a stark contrast to Kalash’s small, intricate menu. Familiar British Indian favourites chicken tikka masala and vindaloo are
nowhere to be seen. Instead, you will find dishes such as barrah champ, Malabari prawn, and palak bhutta khumb.

Since 2019, Kalash, an intimate two-roomed restaurant, has been serving the people of Southport food from the subcontinent unfamiliar to the majority of the British public. As you walk through the door, the smells of ginger, garlic and coriander hit you.

Gourmet fare at 'Kalash Divine Indian'
Gourmet fare at 'Kalash Divine Indian'

Through the restaurant, a set of steps lead up to the kitchen where you can see the chefs working on complex dishes, with some combining more than 15 spices. “Food is a spiritual experience,” says owner and proprietor Ranjeet Singh, who runs the restaurant with friend and business partner Alvino Cardozo. Singh hails from Delhi and Cardozo is from Goa.

Both moved to England in the early 2000s and worked in hospitality before setting out to open their dream restaurant with the aim of re-educating the British palate about the ‘wonders’ of Indian food.

Singh adds: “Our food is about family and home. Some of the dishes on our menu are homegrown recipes that our mothers and grandmas used to cook. They are recipes that we have grown up eating and it is that sort of food that anybody can appreciate and love.”

“It can be a lengthy process with no shortcuts. But that is how traditional Indian food is made. We grind our own spices and make our own sauces. We could buy all of that, but then we would not be representing our country.”

One of the Indian specialties
One of the Indian specialties

Passion and care have laid the foundations of Kalash, but Singh says, “you also need an excellent chef.” Uday Seth from Agra has headed the kitchen since the restaurant opened. Cardazo quips, “He can just smell a dish and know what is in it and that understanding of food is just something you cannot buy.”

All coming from different parts of India, Singh, Cardazo and Seth pooled their collective knowledge to create a menu that represents the length and breadth of the country.

Singh explains, “It seems like an odd place to have a restaurant right at the bottom of Lord Street, but we have been accepted by the town and the people. Customers come in and some have no idea what is on the menu, but we take them through it and explain it. The greatest satisfaction for us coming from so far away is people trying food they have never had before and praising it; it tells us we are doing something right. We get motivated when we see a youngster walk through the door who is being introduced to the food for the first time.”

The story first appeared on Liverpoolecho.co.uk. by James McNeill.

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