Eat & Drink

Published on August 23rd, 2021 | by Martin Banks

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Time for a curry at Little India

Are you among those British expats who badly misses that great British tradition – a curry? If so, there’s some rather good news at hand. This website bring news of a fabulous little curry house, appropriately called Little India, right here in Belgium, writes Martin Banks.

For those living and working in Brussels it is a little way off – in West Flanders – but the journey is well worth the effort.

Of course, you don’t have to be a Brit to appreciate Indian food – many Belgians do too – but the total scarcity of any curry houses in this country is something many an expat has found disappointing.

But Little India, located in a residential street in Maldegem, is a real gem.

For a start, the owner, Sridhar Tuttagunta, is actually from India (unlike a lot of curry house owners in the UK!) and he himself has a fascinating back story.

Born in Mumbai, he used to work in a huge kitchen supplying Indian airline food.The scale of the operation takes your breath away: he was one of 47 chefs (and 200 cooks) who’d supply 26,000 airline meals every day from what was Asia’s 2nd biggest kitchen, after Singapore.

Fast forward to Belgium where he moved to in August 1997, and the contrast could not be more sharp. Little India has just a couple of tables (with one outside in good weather) and was converted from a garage at his home. The kitchen where he prepares his delicious food is just a couple of metres or so from where guests sit.

Modest in size it may be but the food is fantastic.

He learned his craft at catering school in India and in the late 1990s and quite unexpectedly, found himself working in a Bruges restaurant which is where he met Anne, his future wife, who was also working there at the time.

Little India started out as a takeaway service only  and that was a big success during the lockdown, but you now get the chance to marvel at his culinary skills by eating on the same premises.

He insisted, before starting his own business, that he possessed a tandoori clay oven and, after finding it impossible to locate anything in Belgium, a British client managed to fix him up with one from London.

It cooks mouth watering tandoori chicken and other meats, plus nan breads, at a temperature of 450 C.

Anything on his menu is excellent but the most popular dishes are spicy chicken curry and the Mughlai Tikka. Considering the top quality, the prices are extremely affordable (unlike the few Indian restaurants in Brussels).

Sridhar, who is ably supported in the kitchen by his Nieuwpoort-born wife, is a busy man: as well as the tiny resto (15km from Bruges) and an ever-brisk takeaway service, he produces 13 different kinds of Indian food for a West Flanders retail outlet (Spegelaere).

Sridhar first came to  Belgium not knowing anyone but his reputation for wonderfully authentic Indian cuisine has, over the years, spread far and wide and won him lots of admirers.

If you get the chance, check out his lovely food – it’s well worth it!

Little India, Brielstraat 73, Maldegem
Website
T. 050 33 49 80

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