Pub goes all Indian after renovation

PUBLISHED: 11:06 19 May 2008 | UPDATED: 21:27 31 May 2010

AUTHENTIC Indian and Nepalese food and fine wines are replacing pub grub and real ale on the menu of The Yuva, formerly the White Hart, in Debden. This Monday (May 28), the fully refurbished pub reopens following a £200,000 project that has radically impr

AUTHENTIC Indian and Nepalese food and fine wines are replacing pub grub and real ale on the menu of The Yuva, formerly the White Hart, in Debden.

This Monday (May 28), the fully refurbished pub reopens following a £200,000 project that has radically improved the interior and beautified the exterior.

Rather than finding scampi and chips, pie and lasagne on the menu, visitors to The Yuva - which translates as Youth - can look forward to a mouth-watering selection of genuine Indian and Nepalese dishes, prepared by an experienced chef plucked from the heart of Mumbai.

Behind the project is Harun Khan, whose large family have successfully set-up around a dozen similar top-quality restaurants across the region.

"We're really looking forward to opening The Yuva in Debden," he said, "it's a beautiful building and a beautiful place. Because The Yuva is a listed building, we've mostly left the exterior alone - just repainted it and landscaped the front and rear gardens - but inside we've made loads of changes.

"We've put in new floors, handmade lighting, a rear bar, a new kitchen, new toilets - we've really enhanced it and made it more elegant while at the same time maintaining that village feel that's so important."

The 34-year-old entrepreneur and his family have had great success with similar ventures in places including Windsor, Bishop's Stortford and Cambourne, and another restaurant is being prepared in Bassingbourn.

"The emphasis is on quality," he said, "we've got a very, very good chef who I met while on holiday in Bombay, Avi Gommez. He was working for the Taj Group at the time, a major hotel company in India, and he's a fantastic guy, a fantastic chef, who loves this area."

Mr Khan, who lives with his wife and three children in Bishop's Stortford, plans to introduce new elements to the restaurant as time progresses.

"At the moment the main focus is on the quality of the food and the quality of the service," he said, "but in the future I hope to bring in live music and other special events. The food's the really special thing - we'll have some traditional stuff like rogans and masalas, but there'll be some more unusual dishes too, along with Nepalese options.

"It's all fresh and prepared with local ingredients wherever possible - in fact we're speaking to local suppliers at the moment."

It might be seen as an ambitious plan to open a niche pub and restaurant in a small village like Debden, but given Mr Khan and his family's success with similar projects, there is every chance that he will pull it off.

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