A new Sudbury restaurant owner, who pursued his passion for food after years as a firefighter, says he is focused on ‘making memories’ for customers.

Jilani launched in North Street earlier this month, at the site of The India restaurant, to maintain the presence of Indian cuisine in the town centre.

The new business is the second Suffolk venture of Nasir Jilani, who previously took over the Chequers pub in Great Blakenham, adapting it into an Indian lounge.

Originally from London, Nasir worked as a firefighter for nearly two decades but said he was always interested in the hospitality trade through his family.

“I’ve been a firefighter for the last 17 to 18 years,” he told SuffolkNews. “That’s my bread and butter, but food is a passion.

“The restaurant business has been in my family for generations. As time goes on, the new generations move into other fields.

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“Although I’ve got a job as a firefighter, I’ve always had a passion for food and curries in particular.

“When The Chequers in Great Blakenham came on the market, it was a great opportunity and I couldn’t resist.

“These kind of opportunities don’t come up very often, so I had to explore it. That has gone down very well. It’s very busy and popular.

“A few months later, this venture in Sudbury came up. I knew the owner of The India, who said he wanted to step back, but he didn’t just want to give it up to anyone.

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“Life is about risks and, sometimes, you have to take a gamble and be in it to win it, so I thought, let’s do it.

“I fell in love with Suffolk and hope to relocate here soon. When I stop, hopefully, this is where I’ll end up spending my retirement.”

The offering at the Jilani restaurant, Nasir explained, is Indian food “but with a twist”, with the menu featuring many old favourites, but also a range of regional variations.

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He acknowledged that rising costs, particularly for energy bills, made it difficult to run a business at this time, but he stated he is confident the restaurant can go from strength to strength as it becomes established in Sudbury.

“It’s going really well so far, so I’m really pleased,” he added.

“There’s a lot of activity around North Street and we’ve had lots of enquiries already from people looking for jobs.

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“Customers are very excited because, for years, there has been another Indian restaurant on the other side of town, but they didn’t have much competition.

“The guy who sold The India to me focused on deliveries, but not on dining in. We want to focus on dining in.

“I want people to come in for special occasions, where they can make memories and want to come back here. We’re all about making memories, quality food and good service.

“The biggest issue is this industry is facing a tough time. We’ve got rising energy costs and utility bills are sky high, so it’s a case of establishing ourselves.”

To contact Jilani, call 01787 881880.

Read more here: https://www.suffolknews.co.uk/sudbury/news/firefighter-follows-passion-for-food-with-opening-of-new-res-9299493/