Cheltenham’s Prithvi restaurant wins at British Curry Awards

Prithvi in Cheltenham won the Best Restaurant in the South West at the British Curry Awards (The curry oscars).

The man behind the the hugely successful Indian restaurant on Bath Road in Cheltenham is Jay Rahman.Jay took on the restaurant from his uncle in 2011 and over the last ten years has completely transformed what was a traditional Indian restaurant, formerly known as Hassan’s, into a contemporary eatery.

Prithvi serves the beautiful fresh Indian dishes Jay enjoyed while growing up, adapted to fine dining, along with a service to match.

Prithvi wins at British Curry AwardsHis was one of the first regional Indian restaurants to move away from the traditional Indian and offer to a more contemporary experience.

Jay was born and bred in Cheltenham, attended Bourneside School and worked part time at the family restaurant, Hassan’s. After GCSEs he spent a few months working in a Chinese restaurant in Brick Lane, London before beginning a hospitality course at University College Birmingham.

Delicious food equates to just part of the whole restaurant experience (although it has to be done brilliantly), the rest is a warm welcome, beautiful presentation and relaxing environment – all of which Jay does supremely well at Prithvi

After college Jay went to work at Hotel du Vin in Birmingham, moving on to the Marriott. “It was good to start in hotels, but I found it a bit corporate, so I moved into restaurants to be able to put the guest experience first,” he said.

He went to work at Lasan, the well-known Indian restaurant in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. His second move was to the city’s Michelin-starred Purnell’s.

By 2011, however, Jay’s uncle wanted to step back from running Hassan’s in Cheltenham, so Jay bought the business from him and took over the management.

“Hassan’s had had a great reputation, but I wanted to make my own mark on the business and bring fresh ideas to the table.”

That couldn’t be done overnight, Jay spent months working with the restaurant’s incumbent chefs to develop new menus and recruited a friend he’d worked with in Birmingham, Liz Markvadt, to run front-of-house. Alongside his original chefs, Jay recruited new ones to mix up the experience and knowledge in his kitchens.

It was only when that he felt confident that he gave the restaurant its new name, Prithvi.

After just six months it was clear the new concept was working. “We were fully booked for months, with a waiting list for Fridays and Saturdays.”

“In 2015, just three years after opening, Prithvi won a national restaurant award in London. That same year we were among the top ten restaurants for Traveller’s Choice.”

Enam Ali ,MBE FIH, launched the British Curry Awards in 2005 to provide a fittingly glamorous national shop window for the new generation of restaurateurs who, by their investment, hard work and creativity, were already setting new quality standards that even the Michelin Guide inspectors could no longer ignore.