The family-run restaurant Prachee on the Boardwalk opened on August 23 and has had a promising start.
Its director Hamnah Ajeebah, 37, from North End, said its success was down to her team.
She said: ‘It couldn’t have been done without the others’.
Reza Alom, owner and head chef Titu outside Prachee in Port Solent.
The team of 11 is made up of friends and family members including husband Reza Khalid, 38, sisters Rehana Khalid, 35, and Humaira Khalid, 24, and 16-year-old son Abdul, who works part-time alongside his A-levels.
She said the vision of Prachee, which means ‘beautiful east’ in Hindi, is to provide truly authentic Indian food to Portsmouth, something which Hamnah said she hasn’t experienced since moving down to the city from Bradford 16 years ago.
Hamnah said: ‘I wanted to give Portsmouth what I have experienced as a customer in Bradford which, food wise, is amazing. We do not compromise on our quality and our flavour, and we will not serve anything to customers that I will not eat myself.’
Hamnah said all dishes are freshly cooked, and she hand-makes the samosas at home every morning. The ‘chicken 65’ is one of the many historical, traditional dishes that can be found on the menu, and one which Hamnah is sure cannot be found on any other Indian menu in Portsmouth.
She added that if there is a specific dish that is not on the menu that a customer would like, they are willing to make special requests if made aware in advance.
The authenticity of the food is reflected in the fact that all the recipes come from the family’s own repertoire, with Hamnah’s mother, Sharban Bibi, as the biggest inspiration, and critic, of all.
After 15 years of working in customer service, customer satisfaction is at the forefront of Hamnah’s priorities.
Table decor inside Prachee in Port Solent. Picture By: Andy Hornby
She said: ‘In our home when we have a guest, they are treated like royalty, and that’s what we want our customers to experience. It’s not just a restaurant to make money, I want to provide a service I’d want to receive.’
Part of achieving their customer satisfaction is providing an experience that includes everyone, which can be seen by the vast mocktail menu, ensuring that guests who don’t drink alcohol still feel valued.
Inclusion and equality are key factors of Prachee’s vision, with Hamnah emphasising the importance of representing women of colour in the industry.
Tuk Tuk inside Prachee in Port Solent. Picture By: Andy Hornby
She said: ‘To see women of colour in the Asian food industry is very rare, and I want to change that. Nobody is the boss, nobody is the owner, we’re a team and we work together.’
Food is not yet available for delivery, but Hamnah aims to offer takeaway and delivery services in the future.
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The Jalfrezi Dish at Prachee in Port Solent.
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