LONDON, ENGLAND — From the first time Sriram stepped into his father’s kitchen, it was the beginning of a long quest for passion and knowledge of food. “I remember being fascinated by the smell and aromas which used to come from the kitchen – it was my first love”. He was always inspired by the way his father used to work in his restaurant in India. It was admirable to see that with all the hard work and effort put in by his father and his staff, they all still managed to enjoy themselves and laughter always filled the kitchen.
Sriram gave up his Law studies for his first love and in 1984 he joined the Institute of Hotel Management, Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition in India. His father recognised his culinary talent from a very young age and gave him the responsibility of ‘working partner’ in the business, even though he was still young and in college. “It gave me the overall perspective of the restaurant. It was the best training I ever received.” In 1989 Sriram joined the luxury hotel group Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces which includes many locations across India as well as prominent locations internationally including the Maldives, US, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Australia, Africa and the Middle East. His passion for food and knowledge pioneered him to be given the overall responsibility of Gateway hotel Bangalore in India and it was a mere two years before he became the executive chef of the very hotel “It was here that I strengthened my thoughts and shaped my desire to unfold the potential of southern Indian cuisine.” Thus he conceptualised and actualised Karavali Restaurant. “The challenge was to make ethnic food without sacrificing too much in the recipes.”
It was that dedication and spirit that gave Karavali its place in top 5 Restaurants in India in 1995 – The Statesman. 1996 GENTLEMAN – national monthly echoed the views of the Statesman. In 1997 Best restaurant in South India was Karavali – Hotel and Food Service Magazine. Finally in 1997 The Telegraph – National daily ranked him as one of the Top five Chefs in India. “I am quite confident of the south-west Indian cuisine because of its lightness and multi dimensional flavours” – in 1999 Sriram earned the opportunity to start the Quilon Restaurant in the heart of London – Westminster.
The Challenges were many in the London market. The biggest of these was identifying how best to project this unique South-west coastal Indian cuisine. “To use the right technique, and ingredients from the recipe, catering to the real world, without compromising on the foundation of the cuisine.” Hence, Quilon uses only the freshest of ingredients that are available and is the largest importer of south Indian spices in whole of the UK.
The Quilon Restaurant reflects the progressive thoughts and desires to remain connected to its roots and be reflective in the menu. Dishes have included Black Cod, Tempered Asparagus and French Beans, Seafood in mustard and coconut cream – sit comfortably side by side with more traditional South Indian Dishes such as Chicken Korma, fish in banana leaf, Avial and Masala dosa. It was this example of Sriram’s experience, hard work passion and dedication that has seen Quilon receive an array of awards and accolades: 2001– Winner of Best Indian restaurant Good Curry Guide Award. 2003– Quilon was nominated as one of the five best restaurants in Time Out food guide. 2004 — Star Diamond Award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences. 2008 — It’s first Michelin Star which it retained in 2009 and 2010.
His vision about the food – like everything else in the world – is progressive. Progression is logical in this world and true with everything. Therefore, the Quilon’s menu is an amalgamation of Ethnic and Progressive dishes for example – Black Cod, Asparagus and Mange Tout and Lobster butter pepper.
Diners can enjoy the views of the mural in the raised area of the restaurant also overlooking the prestigious road, Buckingham Gate or in the more private booth for intimate dining.
(Quilon – The home of traditional home-style South-west coastal Indian cuisine. 41 Buckingham Gate — London, SW1E 6AF — Phone: +44 (0) 20 7821 1899 — info@quilonrestaurant. co.uk)