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Singh to make chains from Chowki and Mela

18 November 2004
Singh to make chains from Chowki and Mela

Indian chef Kuldeep Singh is launching two restaurant chains based on his Chowki and Mela restaurants in the capital.

He wants to open 17 Chowkis and 18 Melas in the next five years and is looking for city sites in places such as Leeds, Oxford, Cambridge and Nottingham. Singh expects to spend up to £400,000 on each and has secured financial backing from NatWest and HSBC banks.

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Singh: five-year expansion plan
Singh currently owns four restaurants, two of which he opened last month. His first London restaurant was the 110-seat Mela in Shaftesbury Avenue, which opened in 2000. It was followed by the 140-seat Chowki, in Piccadilly Circus, in 2002. He reopened the 100-seat Three Monkeys, in Herne Hill, south London on 1 October. Alongside the restaurant is a take-away business, which is run from an industrial unit in Bromley, Kent, which cooks the meals. This is due to open on Saturday (20 November). Two weeks after launching the Three Monkeys, Singh opened the 105-seat Dilli in Altrincham, Cheshire, on 18 October. Singh is also working on reopening Soho Spice, which is where Singh came when he left New Delhi in 1997 to work as head chef. He bought the premises, in Wardour Street, out of administration for £220,000 in December 2003. He is spending £500,000 on refurbishing the 200-seat restaurant, which opens in January 2005. It will offer tapas-style Indian food, with an average bill of £20 a head. It will have a 100-seat bar which will remain open until 3am. "Reopening Soho Spice will be like going back home. I was pained to see it in administration and I feel I am bringing it back to life," Singh said. A final project he is working on is the launch of seven satellite home-delivery kitchens across the South-east, which will be run in conjunction with the main kitchen in Bromley. They will open at the end of 2005 and will have three chefs each. Singh added: "When I came to Britain it was a struggle to survive but things have fallen into line and now I am focusing on finding sites." Kuldeep Singh's restaurants - Mela Shaftesbury Avenue, London - Chowki Denman Street, London - Three Monkeys Herne Hill, south London - Dilli Altrincham, Cheshire - Soho Spice Wardour Street, London *Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 18 November 2004*
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