Dipalee Lounge in Buckingham crowned Indian Restaurant of the Year
Buckingham restaurant also tops TripAdvisor ratings
Hugely popular Buckingham eaterie Dipalee Lounge is on top of the world after being named Indian Restaurant of the Year - and topping TripAdvisor’s customer ratings chart.
It is a stunning achievement for hard-working owner Giash Mohammed who was forced to close the Castle Street restaurant just two weeks after its launch in February 2020 because of the pandemic.
Lesser businessmen might have folded, but Giash became a community champion by getting his talented team to cook and deliver free meals to homeless people and care homes.
“We had never done delivery before, but we knew we just had to help the community,” said Giash.
“We prepped 90 to 120 free meals a day and sent them out. People couldn’t collect their food because of the restrictions so we delivered it to the church so they could pick it up there.”
The Dipalee Lounge won ‘Indian Restaurant of the Year - Buckinghamshire’ in the annual London and South East England Prestige Guide Awards last month. It currently tops the TripAdvisor ratings as the best restaurant in Buckingham.
“We worked very hard to achieve that,” said Giash. “It was not easy - I have lost my hair!”
Dipalee Lounge has 11 front-of-house staff and seven working in the kitchens. Food is delivered by a team of up to seven drivers.
“It takes a lot of people to run this place,” said Giash, who is no stranger to hard work.
He started out at the age of 21 when he bought a takeaway in New Bradwell, Milton Keynes, for £8,000.
“I didn’t know my left from my right. I didn’t know what was going on,” laughs the father of a baby girl.
“I knew no one and had no suppliers. But it worked and I bought another takeaway and a restaurant. Then four years ago I opened the Purple Mango in Banbury, which is very successful.
“I work seven days a week. Every single day is a full house with up to 120 customers, so I have to be there to keep on top of it, maintain food standards, organise the drivers and make sure people get their drinks.
“We have also reopened the upstairs of the Dipalee Lounge as a party room and for functions. We have worked hard to get the place like it is now.
“Business is very good at the moment. A lot of people found out on social media that Dipalee Lounge is back.
“The local community in Buckingham has helped us a lot and we are very grateful for their support.”