Based in Nottingham’s Maid Marian Way, dubbed the city’s “Curry Mile”, The Cumin restaurant prides itself as offering a menu packed with the authentic taste of North Indian and Punjabi cuisine.
Bringing a unique style of catering to the hospitality industry, the Anand family has a long and successful history in the field, traced back to Nairobi, Kenya, where Bishan Das Anand started a catering business.
Sanjay and Sanjeev Anand, who were inspired by the work of their grandfather, opened the popular Madhu’s (then named Madhu’s Brilliant) in 1980.
In 2007, the Anand brothers Sunny and Shelley launched The Cumin and have since become known among the region’s kings of curry.
“Coming from a Punjabi background, we infused both Punjabi and North Indian flavours in our dishes. Our menu caters for everyone, from vegans, vegetarians to non-veg,” says Sunny Anand.
The Cumin, like most others, was also forced to close its doors in keeping with the coronavirus lockdown guidelines and took its fine-dining experience to a different level by operating as both a delivery and collection service.
“We planned things quite in advance before the lockdown took place. We have been working on our app (The Cumin), which is available to download for free – where you can place orders," reflects Anand.
Harnessing the power of social media, the restaurant kept in close contact with the community, sharing videos from the chef and its plans to re-open.
“We’ve been sharing quite a lot on social media, from pictures to videos showing the new layout. During the lockdown we also cooked and delivered food for international nurses from India, who came to help the NHS in Nottingham during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic,” reveals Sunny Anand.
During the time it was able to open up, as part of its effort to ensure the safety of its guests and staff, the restaurant has introduced a new layout to its restaurant to guarantee public distancing, hand-sanitising stations, with face masks a must.
"We've also replaced our menu with our app, where guests can view, order, and pay the bill, and have been utilising the NHS Track and Trace app," says Sunny Anand.
“With rules continuously changing, it is difficult to share any plans for upcoming festivals this winter,” reflects Anand.
With Nottingham among the worst pandemic-hit regions in England, Anand notes: “We are just going to have to adapt to the new rules.
“We have quite a lot of university students here in Nottingham and within the surrounding area, there are a lot of hotels, where staying guests would come to dine at our restaurant. Many corporates also hire us for meetings and corporate functions. Unfortunately, because of the lockdown, we have lost that trade.
“It is a very tough time, but luckily we are an established restaurant”.
On the long-term impact of the pandemic on the Indian food industry in the UK, the entrepreneur believes it is a matter of adapting to the new normal.