New restaurant aims to add spice to the city
A 32-year-old man from Bangladesh has opened his Indian restaurant in Northern Ireland after training in one of the world's finest venues.
Ripon Biswas worked in restaurants all over the UK and Ireland, saving up £300,000 in order to achieve his dream.
Now he has opened up in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter, creating 30 new jobs in the space formerly occupied by restaurant 27 Talbot Street.
In an homage to an address now synonymous with eating out, the new venue is called Mumbai 27.
Mr Biswas said he prided himself on getting up at 6am every morning to buy produce for his restaurant, which serves contemporary Indian food.
He grinds his own spices -and the restaurant also has its own herb garden.
After leaving Bangladesh Mr Biswas worked in Mumbai's Taj Restaurant, part of the luxury Taj Hotel and one of the world's most renowned Indian restaurants.
He started out as a kitchen porter and rose to the position of master curry chef over five years.
But his ambition to run his own place could only be achieved by moving abroad.
Mr Biswas studied an HND in hospitality management in Limerick in the Republic of Ireland to equip him with the skills he needed to open a restaurant.
He then worked around Ireland and Britain but said Northern Ireland felt like home.
"I loved Northern Ireland from the moment I landed here almost 10 years ago.
"The people - their warmth, integrity and loyalty to family - reminded me of home. My favourite place has always been Belfast and I'm delighted to have opened my first business here and look forward to spicing up the city," he added.
He said that he credits his 74-year-old mother Amena as being his biggest culinary influence.
"My mum calls me everyday on Skype and advises me still on all aspects of food - it's like being back home.
"When I was four-years-old my mother took me onto the rooftop of our house in Khulna and taught me to cook using small pots and pans on open flames.
"I guess my passion for food runs in the blood and goes back through our family for generations."
It also took passion and commitment to set aside "as much money as possible" every month for a nest egg with which to open his new restaurant.