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Head chef wants South Croydon Indian restaurant 'to be the best in the world'

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THE owner and head chef of an Indian restaurant in South Croydon, voted tenth best in the UK, has vowed to make it the best in the world.

Manoj Karnavar, of Karnavar, said "we are on our way", after the the result of the TripAdvisor poll, carried out for for National Curry Week (October 13 to 19).

Manoj, 42, plans for the restaurant, on South End, to be top in the UK in two years, and best in the world in five, despite having only opened in March.

The chef, who has worked in hotels around the world, has been cooking professionally for 25 years.

As a child growing up in Kerala, he helped his mother and grandmother in the kitchen. He said: "Cooking is a way of life."

Manoj moved to England 11 years ago after working in Dubai and Goa.

He has lived in Croydon for ten years, and said: "Croydon has a lot of potential. The local people have given us immense support."

The restaurant is one of 200 Indian establishments in Croydon.

Manoj also praised his staff, saying "I have a wonderful team here."

He believes the secret to his success is the care that goes into each dish.

"If everything in the dish is not perfect, then the dish is not perfect," he said. "It's not good enough if people say 'the food is nice', I want to exceed people's expectations."

Saran Rajendran, the restaurant's manager, added: "There is something for everyone at Karnavar, we treat everyone like a king or queen or a VIP."

However, Saran and Manoj do not have a favourite dish. "Manoj created a menu of 200 dishes, which we scrutinised down to the best 30," said Saran. "Every dish is our favourite."

The first three months after opening were very difficult, as few people knew about the restaurant, but success came after they won a national newcomer award.

Now they are fully booked almost every Friday and Saturday, and Manoj has plans to go to the next level.

"We are going to polish our dishes and train our staff," he said. "We have a couple of surprises coming. Wait and see."

Head chef wants South Croydon Indian restaurant 'to be the best in the world'


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