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Former window cleaner brings Chaat Man, the UK's first Indian deli, to Rushall

A former window cleaner from Long Stratton is breaking new ground by bringing the UK’s first authentic Indian deli to the area.

Next month, Philip Mitchell, from Rectory Close, will open Chaat Man, a delicatessen serving traditional, slow-cooked Indian cuisine, and the 47-year-old claims it is will be the first of its kind in the country.

The idea for the business was born after Mr Mitchell took a family holiday to Kerala, in south-west India, where he became enamoured with the local fare.

“That trip really ignited my passion for Indian cuisine,” said the father-of-two. “I’d visit the restaurants and would speak to the chefs. I was taking notes with a pen and paper on what they were doing.

Philip Mitchell claims that Chaat Man will be the first of its kind in the UK. Picture: Mecha Morton.
Philip Mitchell claims that Chaat Man will be the first of its kind in the UK. Picture: Mecha Morton.

“It was there that I had an epiphany, and really found my passion.”

In 2012, he began selling vac-packed curries at local markets and food festivals across the UK.

Adopting the methods he had learned abroad, his pop-up food stalls proved to be a much-welcome change from the conventional British Indian takeaways.

“Most takeaways need to produce the food quickly,” he said. “They don’t have time to create authentic ‘desi’ Indian food.

“Desi means ‘home style’. Slow cooked, every masala is made fresh – all the spices are roasted and ground. I go out and shop for every ingredient, and it’s all cooked from scratch.”

His one-man operation has now found itself a permanent home at Half Moon Farm, Rushall.

Taking on the name Chaat Man, Mr Mitchell began drawing up plans to open the deli – and came across a unique selling point.

“I’ve done my homework, and not found a single Indian deli in the UK,” he said. “But, most importantly, the food speaks for itself – I’m passionate about producing the very best.”

Chaat Man will be open to walk-in customers from May 29. Until then, you can find him at Lopham Farmers’ Market on the fourth Saturday of every month.

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