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Chef Q&A: Shaikh Aysan of The Spice Lodge in Cheltenham

PUBLISHED: 12:17 05 January 2012 | UPDATED: 20:52 20 February 2013

Chef Q&A: Shaikh Aysan of The Spice Lodge in Cheltenham

Chef Q&A: Shaikh Aysan of The Spice Lodge in Cheltenham

Shaikh Aysan of The Spice Lodge in Cheltenham fuses traditional with modern to create mouth-watering results.

Chef Q&A: Shaikh Aysan of The Spice Lodge in Cheltenham

Shaikh Aysan of The Spice Lodge in Cheltenham fuses traditional with modern to create mouth-watering results.

Name: Shaikh Aysan

Restaurant: The Spice Lodge

Address: Montpellier Drive, Cheltenham, GL50 1TY

Tel: 01242 226300



What is your earliest memory of food?

My mother used to cook handi meat as dum cooking. This used fresh spices that we grew in our garden, and then cooked very slowly.

Tell us about your menu.

Spice Lodge offers a dynamic take on traditional dishes, as well as blending new ideas. We have also extended our range of sweets that are exclusively made for Spice Lodge.

What plans do you have for 2012?

I have introduced an exciting new menu, which can be viewed on our redesigned website. This year we shall be promoting our Asian and English wedding receptions, offering a complete package of specialised menus for their day, plus flowers and a cake. The elegant surroundings, exceptional service and delicious food are the perfect combination for the couples special day. Hen Parties can also be booked in one of our private rooms.

What initiated your interest in cooking?

My uncle is a chef in Calcutta and I clearly remember the way he cooked signature dishes such as Kasmiri Lamb and Dahi Murgh. He has been my mentor since I was young.

How would you describe your approach to food?

With the food we prepare, I am continually inspired to introduce our clientele to try new dishes not usually available without visiting India.

How did it feel winning the award for best Curry House in the South West in the recent National British Curry Awards?

Spice Lodge has been a finalist since the Awards started seven years ago. This is a great achievement and shows consistency and excellence. However, to finally win the Award is wonderful and it is like a dream come true and we would like to thank our customers for their loyalty over the years.

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

My most nerve-wracking experience was cooking Shahi Lamb and Pillau Rice as part of a menu, when Gordon Ramsay judged it.

Which chef has been your greatest inspiration?

Mr Rajan Singh, who is one of the most prominent chefs from Delhi.

Why should people visit you?

At Spice Lodge you can eat authentic Indian food that is not oily or greasy and has less carbohydrates. We cook with the clients health in mind. The restaurant is located in a unique venue in Cheltenham. We offer a choice of an Asian or Thai menu of the highest quality. The dcor is warm and welcoming and guests can relax whether they are coming in for our special Buffet All You Can Eat Sunday lunch, an intimate dinner for two, a get together with friends or to have a meeting and lunch in a private room. Mohammed is passionate about service, so is usually on hand to oversee the kitchen and the dining areas, or one of our several rooms that can be hired for exclusive use.

What would you choose for your last meal on earth?

A whole Indian King Fish marinated in green herbs, lemon, lime and black pepper with crushed garlic and ginger wrapped in banana leaves and roasted in a charcoal oven. My plan is to introduce this to the menu at some point.

What are you hoping 2012 will bring you?

I would like to welcome more customers to try a taste experience they wont forget. I look forward to taking part this year in the various food festivals in the Cotswolds and to winning the British Curry Awards again!




Sea bass marinated with herbs and shallow fried seaweed with sweet chilli sauce 7.95


Roast rack of lamb with Tandoori spice served in a pepper and mint sauce served with mashed potatoes 14.95



Deep fried tortilla parcel with a spice and herb mixture of vegetables, lentils and cottage cheese, served with mint sauce 5.25


Crispy fillet of sea bass topped with sweet chilli sauce 14.95

Speciality desserts created exclusively for Splce Lodge


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