The doors to Exeter’s popular former independent Italian restaurant, Quo Vadis, will reopen tonight (September 29) to reveal how it was transformed into an Indian restaurant and take out.
Just two months ago, it was confirmed that Fore Street restaurant Heavitree – which had been owned and managed by Oliver De Iaco for four years – would remain permanently closed after not reopening since the last lockdown.
At the same time, it was announced that it will be transformed into an Indian restaurant which is due to open today.
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The company is a new venture for three former employees of the famous award-winning Indian restaurant Denley’s based in Topsham.
Together they created Tamarind Bay which will be Heavitree’s second Indian restaurant.
However, chef and co-owner Lookman Hussain, chef and co-owner Kamrul Hussain and manager Sai Rahman believe what they have to offer will be a different customer experience, whether people eat in or enjoy their take-out service.
Sai said: “We all worked in the industry and all worked together at Denley’s, and decided with all the experience between us that we were going to do our own thing and open our own Indian restaurant.
“When the Indian Curry King restaurant in Heavitree was sold by the previous owner about a year ago, we were going to buy it, but we lost the offer.
“Then we saw Quo Vadis in the market and we saw a gap in the market that we could fill. We wanted to make it an Indian restaurant for customers.
“It is not our restaurant but the customers because they are the ones who pay for it. There is not a lot of profit in the restaurants now, so we will work to keep this going for the customers and ask them for their opinion. to improve it.
“We want to make sure that customers feel safe and are using it hygienically and in a healthy way. The food is going to be fantastic.”
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The generous and comprehensive menu offers a wide selection of traditional dishes, as well as house specialties.
For those who eat in its restaurant, they can also choose from an extensive menu with more special dishes.
Among the dishes on offer both in the restaurant and on the take-out menu is a Sylheti egg bhuna – five eggs cooked in a thick, quite tangy and dry sauce, cooked in a traditional Bangladeshi style.
The owners believe they are the only Indian restaurant in Exeter to have it on their menu.
The interior still looks familiar compared to when it was an Italian restaurant, as rental rules state that few changes can be made to the interior.
However, the notable difference includes the kitchen becoming closed rather than open and has been enlarged.
The toilets have also been refitted with two new toilets now side by side between the small bar and the kitchen.
Tamarind Bay will be open seven days a week from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Monday to Thursday and Sunday, and 5 to 11:30 p.m. Friday to Saturday.
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