Hull’s newest and most stylish Indian restaurant is set to serve up the city’s biggest take-away curry.
Tapasya, which opened recently in luxurious surroundings in Beverley Road, will deliver food for Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, which will take over Hull City Hall on Sunday November 10.
Renowned head chef KK Anand and his team have been given the task of devising the menu and preparing sumptuous dishes for up to 500 people at the busiest Diwali event in the region.
Even for such a culinary wizard as KK, the demands of Diwali represent a challenge. He has trained the finalists for Indian TV’s version of MasterChef and last year he was the head chef for Asian cuisine at the Olympic Village in London.
His kitchen at Tapasya is in the theatre style, a glistening stage where he can showcase his skills with the splashes of colour, the addictive aromas and the sizzling sounds that give Indian food so much character.
But the capacity at Tapasya is around 100 people, and KK’s colleagues in the kitchen are a new team who are about to come of age.
“This will be a big job and it is a very important occasion for the Hindu Cultural Association and their guests from other communities,” said KK.
“We don’t normally do a take-away service but there is no other restaurant anywhere near Hull that can prepare and deliver such high quality food on this scale.
“If we could fit everyone who wants to attend the Diwali celebration into Tapasya we would, because our surroundings are a sight to behold, but we can’t do that so we will take the food to Hull City Hall.”
Tapasya opened at the beginning of September, taking over a former showroom for cookers and fires and turning up the heat with big ideas, huge investment and the ultimate aim of securing a Michelin star.
The venture followed a meeting between Mukesh Tirkoti, the Managing Director, and Tapan Mahapatra, a distinguished breast care, cosmetic surgery and general surgery consultant.
Mukesh built his experience with five-star hotels and restaurants in India and launched successful projects in Moscow and Zurich before heading to London.
Tapan has more than 30 years’ experience in the NHS, most recently at Castle Hill Hospital, Cottingham, and also treats patients at Spire Hull and East Riding Hospital at Anlaby.
He joined Tapasya as Finance Director because he became tired of travelling from Hull to London every time he wanted to eat out for fine Indian food. As Chairman of the Hull and East Riding Hindu Cultural Association, he was determined to have the best food for Diwali.
Tapan said: “I have been here for 15 years and I have never found anywhere that serves Indian food to the highest standards and in a fine-dining environment. I’ve always had to go to London for that, so when I met Mukesh we talked and we decided to do something about it.”
Tapasya is the result of an investment of around £500,000 in presenting modern Indian cuisine in elegant surroundings, with a spectacular private dining room available for hire, water features and chandeliers and wall-to-wall wine racks with a choice of more than 100 bottles, including Indian labels.
Tapan added: “Our Diwali celebration will feature exciting and colourful music and dance with performances from the Kathakali dancers and South Asian Arts UK from Leeds.
“The food is one of the most important elements and I am so pleased that we are able to have it prepared and delivered by KK and his team at Tapasya. But we can’t take the wine. If people want that they will have to visit the restaurant.”
The traditions of Diwali mean that the menu will be different from the selection which has caused such a stir at Tapasya.
KK Anand added: “At Tapasya we serve such delights as guinea fowl, quail, duck and tiger prawns but for Diwali we need to prepare vegetarian dishes as starters, main course and dessert for a sumptuous three-course meal.
“We will have creations with chickpeas, rice, lentils and all sorts of combinations of spices and there will be a lot of sweet food, because Diwali is a celebration and an occasion for treats.”
Mukesh said: “It was a bold move opening Tapasya in Hull but we know from our own experience that people are prepared to travel a long way to experience Indian fine dining.
“Tapan and many of our diners were prepared to travel from Hull to London to enjoy their favourite meals so we are confident that people will see Tapasya as a destination restaurant. But the families at Diwali won’t have to go anywhere because we will take our food to them.”
Diwali 2013 is organised by the Hull and East Riding Hindu Cultural Association, which will welcome around 500 people to Hull City Hall from 4.00pm on Sunday, November 10. Under Tapan Mahapatra as Chairman the Association has increased its membership from 40 to 160 in less than four years.
Now, members are looking to move from their current premises in Park Avenue, Hull, and convert a derelict Victorian school in Blundell Street into an iconic community centre and banqueting hall.
Tapan said: “We have outgrown the property in Park Street and we can see the potential of the building in Blundell Street as our Association expands.
“We see ourselves as an important part of the community in Hull and East Yorkshire. We have had support from Hull City Council for Diwali and we want to support them in helping Hull become the 2017 UK City of Culture.”
“Guinea fowl breasts marinated in pickling spices were absolutely delicious, a real delight, and best of all were the potato and paneer patties.”
“Head chef KK Anand has created an utterly delicious variant of the popular Indian street food.”
“Tapasya are very proud of their wine selection, with whole walls acting as wine racks.”
“I like that Tapasya are trying something different in a city not used to refinement from their curry houses.”
Mukesh Tirkoti: 07500 059273
Tapan Mahapatra: 07801 653545