Fall in love with Indian vegetarian cuisine at Sanskruti, Manchester

Fall in love with Indian vegetarian cuisine at Sanskruti, Manchester

When Hemali and Jaymin Shukla moved to the UK, they realised a visible dearth of Indian cuisine. Also, the authentic taste and versatility of Indian food that we get back home were missing in the curry restaurants in Manchester. The food lover couple decided to jump into the food industry. And that’s how the first Indian vegetarian and vegan restaurant of Manchester, Sanskruti, was born in 2013, which soon became one of the most popular restaurants in town.

Passion for India starts with its diverse cuisine

Both Hemali and Jaymin were born and brought up in Gujarat, India. They’ve never been formally trained in hospitality or cooking. But attachment to their roots and love for authentic Indian food has made them leave their respective jobs in healthcare and banking to start up their restaurant.

“Hemali has a passion and love for cooking from an early age and was taught the fundamental understanding of cooking methods, texture, different spices, and flavouring from her childhood. So, we thought that I could handle front of the house and Hemali can handle the kitchen side of the restaurant,” says Jaymin.

“We believe nothing represents India more than its classical cuisine, which we express in each of our dishes. The dishes we offer, many of which you are unlikely to find in Indian restaurants in the UK. Our menu traverses from ‘Thalis’ of Gujarat to the ‘Dosas’ of South India and from the ‘Chaats’ of Mumbai to the rich, unforgettable taste of North Indian curries,” he adds.


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Love for tradition

Some of their signature dishes like Tandoori Kathal (jackfruit marinated in tandoori spices and vegan yoghurt), Kaju Karela (crunchy fried bitter gourd tossed with jaggery, poppy seeds, cashew nuts and special spices), Ringan no Oro (Char-grilled aubergine mashed and cooked with fresh tomatoes, spring onions and spices) and Kela nu Shaak (ripe bananas sauteed with turmeric, asafoetida, curry leaves, lemon juice and various spices) can transport us right back to the childhood nostalgia of mother’s kitchen.

“We serve Bajra and Juwar rotla, which is hand flattened and gluten-free Indian bread made from Millet and Sorghum flour and traditionally made on earthen clay tawa. At Sanskruti, we carry on the tradition of making these bread on clay Tawa (gridled pan). Lots of benefits of earthen cookware, which retains the nutrients and tastes better. Earthen cookware is nontoxic. And clay being porous enhances the flavour of the dish. We also use the charcoal smoking method to give that smoky flavour to some dishes,” explains Hemali.

Going the distance for authenticity

Most of the spices and ingredients appropriate to creating these authentic recipes are not available to buy in the UK. So, they source it from India to maintain the same quality and taste.

Notably, many non-vegetarians, albeit sceptical on their first visit to Sanskruti, often become their regulars. Many of their non-vegetarian guests claim that they will never go back to meat dishes if they could get such vegetarian dishes every day.


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Winning over the Pandemic

However, the Pandemic has not only been a devastating public health crisis, but it has also been the hospitality industry’s greatest challenge to date. The most significant impact on the sector was due to the mass closure and limitations on indoor dining, which pushed many restaurants, including us, to adopt collection and delivery options as the primary source of income.

“In these difficult times, we kept most of our staff in work and focused more on deliveries. Those staff that had a car helped with deliveries, and the rest helped in the kitchen. We also offered discounts and offers to the customers, including NHS staff. We are also thankful to our loyal customers who supported us throughout the difficult time.

The ‘eat out to help out’ scheme was beneficial to some extent post lockdown and brought back a bit of normalcy to our lives. We were all delighted to be back at work and were relieved to welcome our customers back. But perhaps the scheme was introduced a bit too early. We could do better with a similar scheme now when most of the people in the UK are vaccinated,” Jaymin reflects.

However, the tough times could never dampen the spirit of this dynamic restaurateur couple.

“We have recently expanded from one unit to two and completely refurbished the Manchester premises, so we can welcome and accommodate more diners than before. Customers can expect a beautiful place to eat with a great vibe, more space and the same tasty food. We’ve also opened our second branch in Liverpool.” Jaymin informs.


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Hemali & Jaymin’s message for the future generations:

“Always push yourself to be creative and innovative, keep trying new things and don’t be afraid of messing something up for the sake of new discoveries. Cooking isn’t always about being a professional Chef obsessed with perfect knife skills. Cook with fun, love and care that will be reflected in your food,” they said.

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