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Chef Q&A: Mannan Abdul, Indian Brasserie in Cheltenham

PUBLISHED: 12:57 23 April 2018

Mannan Abdul (centre) with Tandoori Chef Hasan Tutul and Head Chef Omue Abdulal (c) Antony Thompson/TWM

Mannan Abdul (centre) with Tandoori Chef Hasan Tutul and Head Chef Omue Abdulal (c) Antony Thompson/TWM

© Thousand Word Media

Mannan Abdul of the Indian Brasserie in Cheltenham tells us about his gluten-free menu

What is your earliest memory of food?

My earliest memory has to be Biryani, everything mixed in with the rice as a little boy was an adventure each meal time.

Tell us about your menu.

The Indian Brasserie menu is diverse, modern and healthy focusing on the gluten-free aspect. There is no artificial colouring or flavourings, everything is natural and light but with full depth of flavour. One would say it is like a curry at home.

How often do you change your menu?

We aim to change the menu twice a year to maximise the seasonal local produce that is available.

Which dish on the menu would you recommend to a customer?

That is quite hard as each dish is exceptional in itself but at a push I would say the Chicken or Lamb Uppakari, the way it is marinated in fresh herbs with a mix of southern Indian spices really makes it. Added to that the fresh ginger, coconut milk and fresh chilli flakes in a light tangy sauce, it is divine.

What initiated your interest in cooking?

Helping family cook and learning all about spices and flavours. Cooking became quite natural to me and I my passion for it has not diminished but has grown over the years.

How would you describe your approach to food?

Flavour and spice combination is vitally important to me, I see it as an art, getting the balances right to maximise the flavours of each dish and seeing the enjoyment and wonder on those that taste my food.

What advice would you give to a novice?

Learn as much as possible no matter how basic, master each element and your understanding will grow but also cook with love and passion each dish.

Have you ever had any cooking disasters?

Of course, we learn from our mistakes especially when I am experimenting with new dishes. But I once made a birthday cake without using butter, a serious lesson learnt...

What has been your most memorable (or unusual) meal?

Wow, there are so many but for me the one that stands out the most has to be fried fish in Bangladesh.

Which chef has been your greatest inspiration?

A lot of the great chefs have talents that we all aspire to but for me it has to be Gordon Ramsey with his creative style and passion for cooking.

What is your favourite local ingredient?

It has to be the locally sourced veg. We have amazing farmers in Gloucestershire producing some of the best produce and it only right that we use this when it is on our doorstep.

What’s in your fridge at home?

My fridge only ever has vegetables and fish. When not at the restaurant I like to cook whatever takes my fancy.

What is your favourite restaurant?

Now that has to be Le Champignon Sauvage, it produces the best French cuisine ever to a standard only ever rivalled in Paris. I love the place and it is worthy of its two-star Michelin status.

Why should people visit you?

I want to change the concept that people have of an Indian restaurant, Indian Brasserie cuisine is not only authentic but more importantly gluten free, so it is light with amazing depths of flavour. All the produce is locally sourced with no artificial colourings of flavourings ad we are a family run business who pride ourselves on giving our customers the best dining experience.

What would you recommend about the local area?

For me Bath Road is like a small community all in itself, made up of independent businesses and the most amazing local people that really makes a community spirit.

What would you choose for your last meal on earth?

Well a banquet to make it last but if it had to be one meal than it would have to be one of our curries.

Indian Brasserie, 146 Bath Rd, Cheltenham GL53 7NG

Menu and reservations: indianbrasserie.com

Tel: 01242 231350

Read our review here.

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