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.
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.
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
* 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
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