A vegan and vegatarian Indian restaurant has been named the Your Local Guardian Takeaway of the Year 2020.

Shri Lakshmi Foods has only been open for eleven months, but it is already winning the hearts (and stomachs) of locals.

The Walthamstow restaurant delivers a varied menu of vegan and vegetarian foods prepared in a nut-free kitchen.

Owner Nihar Baldev says opening a restaurant was always a dream of his and felt that 2020 was the right time to give it a go as he had the right team around him, his family.

“All of us are vegetarian and one of my objectives in starting the restaurant was to promote vegan, vegetarian and plant-based food as I believe it is the way forward as it’s a healthier and more sustainable way of living”, he explained.

“I feel very lucky to have a fantastic core team around me as they have been incredibly supportive and understood the passion behind my vision.”

The restaurant, located in Hoe Street, opened in February, a month before Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered a first national lockdown to combat the spread of coronavirus.

“No doubt 2020 has been a challenging year as within three weeks of opening we had to close our doors because of lockdown”, Mr Baldev said.

“But we have still felt very fortunate during this time and blessed by all our lovely customers as they have kept the dream alive for us and we are grateful for their continued support.”

Shri Lakshmi Foods, named after Nihar’s grandfather Laxmidas Baldev and Lakshmi, the Indian Goddess of wealth and fortune, has continued to offer top-quality takeaway meals through multiple lockdowns in what has been a turbulent year for the country.

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Walthamstow has fallen in love with the restaurant, with many seeing it as there go-to lockdown takeaway.

“Customers have responded very positivity to the food and dining experience here and we were delighted to end this year on such a positive note in winning this award, it means the world to us”, Nihar beamed.

“We would like to say a big thank-you to everyone who had nominated and voted for us. We have a lovely space here which is both cosy and atmospheric and we look forward to welcoming customers old and new back as soon as possible.”

As someone who is lactose intolerant and allergic to wheat, Nihar says he felt a special empathy for those with allergies or sensitive stomachs, and built his menu around being inclusive to all guts and diets.

He said: “Based on our research we knew that nuts, dairy and wheat were the biggest allergens. Designing the menu was not without challenges in that we all had to work hard in sourcing and checking ingredients. We wanted to incorporate all the best Indian dishes as much as possible minus the allergens, so my mum had to think outside the box to find alternative ingredients without compromising on flavour.”

Shri Lakshmi Foods is open for takeaway and delivery through all popular platforms.

Customers can also order for delivery/pickup through the restaurant’s website www.veganvegetarianplantbasedfood.co.uk for a 10 per cent discount.

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