The former Gezellig site at London's Holborn Town Hall is to be replaced by a restaurant called Colonel Saab, the first UK venture for Indian hotelier Roop Partap Choudhary.
The all-day modern Indian restaurant and bar will have a 100-cover dining room and mezzanine and two private dining rooms hosting up to 50 guests. Colonel Saab will open for breakfast through to dinner seven days a week, with a brunch menu served at the weekend. The restaurant is due to open in September.
The interiors are being designed in collaboration with Choudhary's mother, Binny, while the restaurant itself has been named after Choudhary's father Manbeer, who was known as ‘Colonel Saab' during his time in the Indian Army. Choudhary is managing director of the Noor Mahal hotel in Karnal.
The menu will offer a variety of dishes from around India inspired by the places Colonel Saab was stationed, from street food to home-style Indian cooking and dishes inspired by royal kitchens, developed in partnership with Indian food writer and cook Karen Anand.
Breakfast dishes will include caramel and banana paniyaram with jaggery sauce; Colonel Saab eggs Benedict with turkey ham, poached eggs, korma sauce and toasted pau; and an Indian fry-up with a masala omelette, chilli chicken sausage and curried baked beans.
The all-day menu will offer dosas from south India alongside rice dishes served in tiffins, with dinner dishes such as bharli vangi (Maharashtrian baby aubergines in a chilli peanut sauce), Nizami roast chicken and ‘Binny's childhood chicken curry'. Small plates will be priced from £8, larger dishes from £14.
Colonel Saab's bar, led by bartender Antony Bertin (currently head bartender at the Aquarium bar at the Castelbrac hotel in Dinard, France), will have a cocktail list designed to complement the food, with a collection of house cocktails named after Choudhary's family members, alongside artisanal Indian-made gins, whiskies and rums.
Choudhary said: "I am excited to be able to finally reveal plans for Colonel Saab. It's been almost a decade in the planning and after this last year or so, it's great to have some positive news to share. London was always my first choice to open a restaurant outside of India. You have one of the best and most diverse dining scenes in the world and I've loved visiting and eating my way around the capital for many years now, so when this central London site came up it really was a no-brainer for me.
"The site is the old Holborn Town Hall and is a wonderful old building with bags of charm and personality of its own, and so provides the perfect venue for Colonel Saab. We have big plans afoot and can't wait to welcome guests to the restaurant when we open this September."