Grand Trunk Road is a 60 cover Indian restaurant which opened last year in South Woodford, East London. Dedicated to the flavours and history of India, the restaurant is inspired by the 2,500 miles ancient Grand Trunk Road (GTR) which is the longest road in India. The road spans from Afghanistan to Bangladesh running through India and Pakistan and is the main influence for the dishes created for the menu.
Opened by acclaimed restauranteur Rajesh Suri, Grand Trunk Road is another collaboration between Rajesh and Head Chef Dayashankar Sharma. The restaurant has been designed by Rajesh himself and takes inspiration from India with warm copper, brown tones and stone used within the interior.
The restaurant sits on one floor and is an open plan space which showcases its warmth immediately upon entry. “As you enter the restaurant, there is the copper-topped bar with a slight extension which is more like a serving bar. It has beautiful panels and shelving above it,” commented Rajesh Suri, Founder and Director of Grand Trunk Road restaurant.
The dining area uses blues and browns with the area behind the bar using pulled leather to create the sense of warmth that comes from the copper throughout the restaurant. “The interior is a bit of a mix and match furniture but on the wall, which is the long wall on the left-hand side as you enter the restaurant, there are panels which go along the full length of the restaurant and has an LED behind it which gives an impression of a sunrise or sunset,” added Rajesh.
Pendant lighting has been used within the restaurant made out of beaten copper with clear light bulbs. Similar copper lighting has been used above the bar which matches the copper top of the bar. “Black stone was used on the floor that has a range of different shades of black. So it’s stone throughout the restaurant and for the beams, I used five railway track sleepers that go across supporting the building. We shipped them from Brazil and they have quite a big presence within the restaurant. At the end of the restaurant, where the leather sofa-style booth is, is a skylight so when you sit there in the summer there will be a lot of natural light let in.”
The menu itself, taking inspiration from the regions along the Grand Trunk Road, boasts a wide variety of dishes comprised of the best ingredients and Head Chef Dayashankar Sharma’s trademark cutting-edge cooking techniques. With 28 years of culinary experience, Dayashankar was the former Head Chef of the acclaimed restaurants Imli and Zaika in Kensington. His time at India’s Taj Hotel saw his design and complete a host of events and state banquets for foreign Presidents, Dignitaries and Luminaries.
Dishes such as Tiger prawns with coconut milk, turmeric and ginger along with Baby eggplant with red and green peppers in masala are perfectly in keeping with Grand Trunk Road’s historical influence. “The beauty is that the GTR journey is so long that is allows us to change the menu quite regularly. I wanted to do seasonal cuisine which is based on what is available on the British market, and we’ve been able to do that.
“With the menu, as it gets colder, we have more warm dishes such as soups and spicy curries. Moving into spring they’ll be a lot of salads and grilled meats. It’s an interesting combination which allows us to keep on reinventing and moving forward,” commented Rajesh.
“This is my first independent venture and I used my personal experience to design it. This was my dream and my aim is to develop this as a brand as no-one else has done anything like it, covering four countries. It’s a food journey from Kabul to Kolkata.”