Published: 06:00, 29 May 2021
The team behind an Indian restaurant which has officially opened after launching during lockdown say the timing has been perfect.
Managers at Turmeric Square in Kings Hill, Kamrul Islam and Sanu Miah, are aware they are opening in uncertain times due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But having launched their other restaurant in Kent, Turmeric Gold in Tudeley, in 2008 during a credit crunch, it seems the Islam family - which includes seven brothers - like doing things the hard way.
“Funnily enough, Turmeric Gold was actually opened during the recession,” said 39-year-old Johurul Islam, one of Kamrul’s brothers.
“So we have a history of opening in suspect times.
"Touch wood, this restaurant will be okay as well.”
They have been boosted by a government Restart Grant, a one-off payment of around £18,000.
It is hoped the restaurant, in Liberty Square, which opened last Monday, will be able to seat 150 people. But for now, due to Covid restrictions, numbers are limited to 90.
Johurul said: “We have got friends in London that have got restaurants and, unfortunately, they are struggling.
“But for us, there are so many positives around the Kings Hill area in terms of the population, the clientèle and being on Liberty Square.
“We are planning to see some real growth in our business in the next couple of years. Obviously with the pandemic, it is a risk.
“But we are confident that we will see the back of that.”
The venue hopes to employ 15 to 20 staff.
Last Friday, Kent MP Tom Tugendhat officially opened the restaurant after three months of takeaway trade alone.
"It was a great privilege to declare Turmeric Square, Kings Hill, officially open," the Tonbridge and Malling MP said.
"The expansion of this family business is extremely welcome, and I know they will serve all customers in Kings Hill as well as other restaurants have.
"Of course, during the latest restrictions, Turmeric Square have already been helping with a delivery service available ahead of re-opening to indoor catering.
"I look forward to visiting very soon."
“It has been quite a blessing really,” said Johurul.
“The restaurant needed work and, as we were only doing takeaways, we could get the builders in and that was all fine.
“I think now is the perfect time for slowly opening the restaurant. We are not at our maximum capacity - we are just on our main floor.
“But our plan is, either in the middle of June or the end of June, we will expand upstairs as well.”