Surbiton restaurant lands major award nomination for unique dining concept

An Indian restaurant in Surbiton has been nominated for a prestigious award by a board of high-profile judges.

Thali Ho, a family-run restaurant specialising in authentic Indian dishes, is in the running to become the Best Asian Restaurant in London Suburbs as part of the Asian Curry Awards 2019.

Restaurant owner Shamim Malek said: “It’s a big achievement for us just to be recognised by such a big organisation.”

Thali Ho, on 31-33 Brighton Road, opened in 2017 and is run by brothers Shamim and Shah Malek.

Restaurant interior with hand-painted wall art by Shamim’s sister, Jasmine. Picture: Hannah Neary

The menu includes a mix of traditional and quirky dishes including their popular Gunpowder Chicken, Lamb Rogan Josh and Prawn Koliwada.

According to Shamim, Thali Ho stands out from other Indian restaurants because it is centred around the theme of the Thali, a traditional dish laid out on a platter.

He said: “The ordering is quite simple: the customer picks the main dish that they like the sound of and then a whole meal is created around that.

“So you have rice, bread, vegetables and yoghurt as well as the main dish.”

Traditional Thali dish is popular amongst customers. Picture: Thali Ho

This is the third time Thali Ho has been nominated for an Asian Curry Award; they won Best Indian Restaurant in London Suburbs for 2018 and Best Casual Dining Restaurant in London Suburbs for 2017.

Shamim said that the restaurant is always fully booked on Fridays and Saturdays and that last Christmas, people were queueing in the street to get a table.

“Our food is from the heart,” he said.

“It’s home-cooked food that we ate growing up and we’ve brought that to the restaurant.

“The concept of the Thali is still quite unique – it’s centuries-old in India but in England it’s still relatively new.

“On the high street, nobody’s ever done this, especially in the suburbs.”

Restaurant owner Shamim Malek with wife, Priyanka and staff member, Nikolai. Picture: Hannah Neary

The Asian Curry Awards promotes high-quality Asian food made by UK businesses.

It is judged by culinary experts including Pat Champan, founder of the Curry Club and author of the Good Food Guide.

The 2019 winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Mayfair on November 17th.

Previous celebrity guests include MasterChef’s Gregg Wallace and BBC Broadcaster Kate Silverton.

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