London’s favourite Indian food chain on brink of administration: report

January 16th, 2009 - 7:40 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Jan 16 (IANS) City of London financiers and bankers may have to do without their favourite curry outlet, after Indian-origin restaurateur Jamal Hirani was Friday reported to have quit his company with the banks set to send in administrators.Hirani’s Gourmet Restaurants business owns Tiffinbites, a popular healthy Indian meals outlet, Bombay Bicycle Club and Vama, and is close to appointing Chantrey Vellacott DFK (CVDFK) as administrators, the Times reported.

The newspaper quoted an unnamed Gourmet source as saying ICICI Bank had put up CVDFK on standby to be administrators.

Hirani, who came to Britain from Uganda at the age of eight, set up Gourmet Restaurants in 2003 after being inspired by his mother who made traditional Indian snacks for catering outlets.

He founded Tiffinbites in 2003 - borrowing the concept from Mumbai dabbawalas - and developed it into what was later described as the City’s favourite Indian restaurant chain.

In addition to selling food at four restaurants and seven takeaways, it catered to 250,000 City workers under a deal with Compass Group, a food and support services multinational company.

In 2008, he bought the Bombay Bicycle Club, described by celebrity British chef Gordon Ramsey as his favourite Indian restaurant.

Hirani said in July that he would use the opening of two Tiffinbites outlets in Dubai to launch a global franchise push, while Bombay Bicycle Club would be expanded from three restaurants and 15 delivery kitchens to as many as 200 sites in Britain.

The purchase of Vama Group, also in 2008, added a top-end restaurant on London’s Kings Road and a corporate catering arm.

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