Portsmouth Bangladeshi takeaway transforms into cosy, yet stylish restaurant

Staff and customers at Shariff's restaurant opening last night
Staff and customers at Shariff's restaurant opening last night
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Where was once a simple room used for serving takeaways, there is now an intimate and comfortable restaurant.

Shariff’s in Festing Road, Southsea, has just converted from a Bangladeshi takeaway into a venue with seating for 48 people.

The restaurant is owned by father and son Bodrul and Sahir Hussain and Borkoth Ullah, a silent partner who lives in London.

Mr Ullah said it was the brilliance of the chef who really inspired the transformation of Shariff’s into a restaurant.

He said: ‘We say it’s like he’s had his hands dipped in honey, because everything he does is absolutely amazing.

‘He just has a knack for cooking.

‘A lot of the dishes are his own doing and he makes the spice combinations himself.’

Mr Ullah said the food served was unusual.

He said: ‘The chef uses a lot of his own techniques and the result is something quite unique.’

The chef in question, Kamal Hussain, 38, is a fourth owner of the business and has been creating fine cuisine for 20 years. He was born in Rochdale, near Manchester, and started working at Shariff’s three years ago.

Kamal said: ‘A lot of customers who came in were always telling us that we should open a restaurant.

‘I’ve alway enjoyed cooking and it really comes from my heart.’

Kamal said one of his favourite creations was a seafood dish called Moulvibazari king prawn.

‘It has my own special spin,’ he said.

The name Shariff’s is well-known in Southsea’s dining scene. It first opened as a curry house in 1978 by a family relation. The current owners took over the business about two years ago.

Mr Ullah said: ‘It’s very much a family business, as it is in most Asian restaurants.

Shariff’s does not serve alcohol but guests are welcome to bring a bottle of wine into the restaurant with them to eat with their meal.

The business is open weekdays from 5pm to 11pm and 5pm to midnight on weekends.

Kamal said: ‘We have a private room as well which can be booked for parties and private functions.

Kamal said Shariff’s would still offer take-aways.

Prospective Tory candidate for Portsmouth South Flick Drummond was at Shariff’s to help launch the new restaurant.

She said: ‘I’m always happy to support small businesses like this in our community.’

Kamal said staff wanted to thank Ms Drummond ‘from the bottom of their hearts’ for being there for the launch.