Goodbye Gujarati Rasoi: another Hackney restaurant is struck off the foodie menu

Bradburyi©DA12: Bradbury St Dalston N16 8JN © david.altheer@gmail.com 210712
In the heart of Dalston: Bradbury Street’s postcode is N16 but its soul is E8

JUST AS LONDON hits peak vegan, a Hackney vegetarian ’n’ vegan pathmaker restaurant puts its tables away for good.

Gujarati Rasoi in Bradbury Street, Dalston N16 8JN, shocked followers this week with an email to say that seven years since opening it was closing this Saturday, 2 February 2018. Its website said nothing of that, but closing it is.

GujaratiRasoi©DA12: Lalita Patel outside the new Gujarati Rasoi restaurant in Bradbury St Dalston N16 8JN © david.altheer@gmail.com 210712
Lalita Patel, whose Indian culinary inheritance is passed on to her son Urvesh Parvais

More and more eateries, coffee shops and bars around Hackney, including some locally big names such as White Rabbit, also in Bradbury Street, and Rotorino are shutting.

Yet the firm that owned Gujarati Rasoi looks financially secure. So why did the venture fail? Loving Dalston asked chef-owner Urvesh Parvais early this week: he has not replied.

Possible factors are changes coming from redevelopment in Gillett Square behind GR. Hackney Co-operative Developments which, as leaseholder, lets the premises on the N side of the street for Hackney council, the freeholder, says the rents are low. But despite that and almost half a century of council initiatives, the area has never fulfilled its hoped-for potential.

The resto expanded from its initial tiny premises but kept a few unpretentious Indian-café touches, such as the separation of its tiny toilet from tables by a flimsy hardboard panel, although GR did not always show the efficiency of the Mumbai eateries. 

Broadway©DA: Broadway Market Hackney Lon E8 by Tony Coombs
A wintry Broadway Market: the north end, as seen by Dalstoner Tony Coombs

From professional reviewers GR won mostly praise, but among customers, and even in the little-critical-edge Time Out, there was muttering about high prices and small portions. Still, a review in The Guardian summarised it well: “…you get the very real sense that you’re enjoying the hospitality of talented Gujarati home cooks”.

The business grew out of street-food stalls run by mother and son Lalita Patel and Urvesh Parvais and it’s going back to that. Foodies will be hoping it retrenches then returns as a restaurant.

David Altheer 300119

* Closures you might have missed: Shanghai (below) in Kingsland High Street, Dalston; the Ridley Road bar-eaterie Screwdriver; A Little of What You Fancy, Kingsland Road, Haggerston; Queensbridge Road’s Element; Rita’s in Mare Street 

Shanghai©DA: Kingsland High Street, Dalston E8 2PB  280913 © david.altheer@gmail.com
Shanghaied: Dalstoners’ default Chinese resto closed last year 2018

* Gujarati Rasoi has stalls at Broadway Market (Street), London Fields E8 4PH, Saturday 9am-5pm; Green Market, 8 Southwark Street, Borough SE1 1TL, Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm

*Backstory: Hackney falls in love with veggeism; Market produce: a boutique Indian restaurant; Hellhole of Dalston

* All pictures on this page © DavidAltheer [at] gmail.com, and all for sale for reproduction. Most photographs are available in bigger formats. 

*Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites.

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