The Britannia Gurkha Restaurant near the heart of Colchester is an excellent example of how you can take a failing pub and turn it into a successful family business.
The History of the Britannia Gurkha Restaurant
The Britannia had been a successful Colchester pub for many years, but as changes occurred to the Garrison and the smoking ban was introduced, the pub slowly became less viable as a business.
Around 2013 the pub was purchased by retired Gurkha Army Captain Umesh Kumar Pun who had served in wars including Bosnia (2000) Sierra Leone, Afghanistan (2005, 2007, 2009) and who is also a member of the Royal Victorian Order. He also served as the Queen’s Gurkha Orderly Officer from 2009-10.
Umesh separated the pub into two halves – a traditional and bustling bar serving a selection of Real Ales and other beverages – and a restaurant serving Nepalese food.
The venue quickly gained local notoriety and would soon be awarded a Tripadvisor ‘Certificate of Excellence’.
Our meal at the Britannia Gurkha Restaurant included dishes such as goat curry, fish curry, dal, roti (bread) and other accompaniments. Vegetarian options are always available.
The menu is fixed and varies from evening to evening; you don’t chose, you’re given. There is also a vegetarian option. The restaurant has quickly achieved notable success in the area and is almost always full with people enjoying traditional foods.
I quite like the idea of a fixed menu. There’s no messing around, not fussing about what to choose to eat, and it means the chef can concentrate on making the food excellent quality.
It’s not ‘chilli’ hot food; instead it focuses on spice and flavour. A lightly creamy chicken curry for example, or a melt-in-the-mouth goat (lamb) curry. If you’re a Chillihead then asked nicely and they’ll bring you out some super-hot chilli pickle which I promise will clear even the most serious of colds.
Families, couples and groups welcome at the Britannia Gurkha Restaurant
If there’s one thing you can be sure of at the Britannia Gurkha Restaurant dishes and it’s a warm welcome. The staff are extremely polite and Umesh himself will often be there to oversee the running of the restaurant.
Behaved children are welcome but booking is advisable. As such, there’s no children’s menu so if your children don’t like curry you may wish to avoid. That said, the curry is very mild and so an excellent way to introduce them to spicy food. My 8 and 10 year old love it!
Local beer on tap
There’s nothing better than a curry and a beer, right? Well Real Ale fans can be assured of a (usual) selection of Colchester Brewery’s ‘No.1’ and ‘Metropolis’ on draft which are a great accompaniment to a curry and well kept. Lager drinkers can also benefit from a bottled Gurkha beer, draught San Miguel and wine drinkers have a decent selection to chose from.
Live sport and entertainment
On some Saturday evenings you can see local bands including the popular Essex-based Blues Brothers Tribute and live sport is a regular showing including BT Sports football and occasional Formula One races. There are also pool and darts facilities as well as a jukebox.
So you can watch some sport, have some great local beer, eat some great food and go home with a warm smile on your face.
To book a meal visit the Britannia Gurkha Restaurant and Bar website or call 01206 761003.
Why not try cooking some Nepalese food at home?
Amazon have loads of books to get you experimenting for Nepalese cuisine at home and some recipes are easy and delicious!