Published 19 May 2022
by Rebekah Lodos
Ex-Roti King duo Prince Durairaj and Glen Leeson are ready to bring curry back to the pub. Building on the success of their Hackney-based fast-casual kiosk Tamila, the pair are joining forces to open The Tamil Prince in Islington, with a menu focused entirely on South Indian cuisine
“It’s not a new concept, Indian in a pub. It’s been around since the 50s,” Gleeson, formerly of JKS Restaurants, told CODE. “It’s lost some of its prominence, but I feel like what we’re doing is very different to what’s happening at the moment. It’s definitely a new twist on an old concept. And it just feels natural.”
The Tamil Prince will take over 19th century pub The Cuckoo on Hemingford Road — a site that was once home to the well regarded Indian restaurant Roots At N1. The Cuckoo was a bar with a sparse food menu previously and Roots did away with the bar altogether during its operation, so, in a “weird twist of fate”, as Leeson put it, their new project is the perfect amalgamation of the site’s previous tenants as well as Leeson and Durairaj’s own respective upbringings: one of them grew up in British pubs, the other around authentic Indian cooking in his home state of Tamil Nadu.
Main dishes will include grilled king prawns “in a 24hr masala marinade”, and robata lamb chops, as well as a classic butter chicken served with a side of roti or coconut pilaf rice. Small plates, meanwhile, will take up a large portion of the menu, with crab soup, dhal, okra fries, and onion bhajis.
South Indian-inspired cocktails, created by Simone Pugi of Soho’s Bar Termini, will also be on offer. Classics will sit alongside tamarind maragaritas. Indian beers and independent British breweries will also feature. “We’re going to work with Harbour Brewery down in Cornwall, and Purity Brewery in the West Midlands,” Leeson told CODE. “And in the kitchen we’ll have great Indian food.”
The Tamil Prince will open its doors on June 24.