Indian street food chain sets opening date for Brighton restaurant

Posted On 30 Jan 2023 at 6:40 pm

A South Indian street food chain has set the opening date for its Brighton restaurant while attracting investment from a private equity funder.

Mowgli is due to open next month in Duke’s Lane in Brighton

Mowgli is taking bookings for its new premises in the old Oasis shop on the corner of Duke’s Lane and Middle Street from Friday 24 February.

And today (Monday 30 January) the Press Association news agency reported that the private equity firm TriSpan had bought a stake in the chain.

PA said that TriSpan did not disclose the size of the stake but said that Mowgli Street Food’s founder and management had maintained a “significant interest” in the company.

Mowgli was started in Liverpool in 2014 by a former barrister Nisha Katona, now a chef and food writer. She will continue to lead the business as chief executive, PA said.

The chain, which currently has 15 branches before the Brighton opening, is the fourth British restaurant business to receive investment from TriSpan, which has offices in London and New York.

TriSpan has previously invested in Pho, Rosa’s Thai Cafe and Thunderbird Fried Chicken. Pho has premises in Black Lion Street, Brighton.

Mowgli plans to open sites in Bristol and Edinburgh as well as Brighton this year and is “actively reviewing other expansion opportunities around the UK”, PA added.

The restaurant chain was originally granted a premises licence in September 2021. A neighbour’s representative raised concerns about noise from outside tables and deliveries but was told that the company had no plans to offer either option.

Brighton and Hove City Council attached conditions to Mowgli’s licence to ban “al fresco dining”, to restrict deliveries to four hours – from 9am to 1pm – and to restrict when bins could be emptied to 14 hours – from 7am and 9pm.

A council licensing panel said: “The applicant’s licensing consultant explained that Mowgli was an experienced operator and had 14 other sites throughout the country, some of which had been operating for a number of years. None had been the subject of a complaint.

“The company’s aim was to be a good neighbour and additional conditions to address concerns about delivery noise and bin emptying would be acceptable.

“The company had no plans to apply for a pavement café licence and was prepared to accept a condition prohibiting al fresco dining.

“The panel have considered the individual merits of the application as well as the policy context. The premises are situated in a mixed residential/retail area and residents’ concerns about late-night noise are justified.

“The (panel) appreciated the scaled-down application, the conditions put forward on the operating schedule, the conditions agreed with the police and the additional conditions that the applicant was prepared to accept.”

Mowgli can serve alcoholic drinks with a meal from noon to 10pm from Sunday to Thursday and from noon to 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

TriSpan said: “This investment is once again testament to TriSpan’s commitment to the sector, especially in the face of the difficult macroeconomic environment present in the UK and globally.

“This is TriSpan’s tenth restaurant investment globally, and its fourth in the UK, following previous UK investments in Pho, Rosa’s Thai Café, and Thunderbird Fried Chicken.”

Debt financing for the transaction was provided by OakNorth Bank, TriSpan said. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Nisha Katona

Mowgli said that it had raised about £1.2 million for charity since it was started and Nisha Katona added: “Founding and growing Mowgli has been an unremitting joy for me.

“I soar with excitement when I think of the future possibilities for Mowgli and the way the public and our teams have embraced our food and our brand.

“TriSpan understands the elements that have made Mowgli, her food and her culture worthy of this affection and loyalty.

“They get it and always have – and I look forward to sharing the board table with colleagues who are committed to continuing to grow Mowgli with this delicious integrity at her heart.”

Mowgli said: “The simple dishes of a Mowgli menu are a million miles away from the curry stereotype.

“These dishes convey the truth that real Indian food is extremely healthy, often vegan and always packed with fresh flavour.”

  1. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    New restaurant opens. This is more the sort of article that appears in the Argus.

  2. Pedro J Jones Reply

    I’m really pleased Mowgli are opening in Brighton. It’s a great restaurant chain, their food is delicious and very reasonably priced. A great addition to the Laines.

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