King Charles’ favourite Indian restaurant lives up to its name: Brilliant
Visited by His Maj on two separate occasions, it seems Southall’s longstanding Punjabi restaurant lives up to its promising name, Brilliant. Curiously, the institution didn’t begin its life in London, however. It was founded in the 1950s in Nairobi, Kenya, where it was then accompanied by a hotel and nightclub. Then Gulu and Kewal Anand brought their father’s concept with them when the family emigrated to the UK. After saving up and catering to small events for family and friends from their home garage, the brothers’ Southall spot opened its doors in 1975. Beginning as a 36-seat eatery with flocked red wallpaper and white chairs, Charles paid the restaurant a visit shortly after it opened when Gulu spotted he was due to visit the area, wrote to the palace and invited him in.
Since then, Gulu’s children, Dipna and Shanker, have grown up into the business, with Dipna heading up the kitchen. Having expanded a grand total of seven times, the restaurant now boasts more than 100 seats as well as a banqueting suite and cookery school. ‘We’ve gone up, we’ve gone sideways and now we joke because the guy next door won’t move out and we can’t get any bigger,’ says Dipna.
Gordon Ramsay has singed his arm hairs in the kitchen while learning how to use a tandoor for his TV show Cookalong Live, and Charles returned with Camilla in 2008 to sample the buttered naan, black dhaal, masala lamb, chicken tikka masala and gajar ka halwa (caramelised carrot pudding), which (after his security detail trialled it before him) he said was some of the best Indian food he’s had.