By day he fights fires. By night, Nasir Jilani is the man behind not one, but two Indian restaurants in Suffolk, having just opened his second dining room. 

Jilani replaces the former India Restaurant on North Street, and comes hot on the tail of Nasir’s other venture, The Chequers Indian Lounge in Great Blakenham, which opened last September. 

The building has been shut for three months undergoing works, with a top London designer (who only undertakes a few projects each year) brought in to overhaul the interior, giving it a fresh, stylish new look – with swanky booths, soft-touch upholstery and mood lighting all creating an elegant ambiance. 

East Anglian Daily Times:

A fireman for 17 years, Nasir said it’s passion and a family background in the restaurant business that encouraged him to take the leap into running his own eateries.  

“And in Sudbury I can see a lot of potential. There’s not too much competition in the area, and the man who had the restaurant here before me had to retire due to ill health. He had a lot of offers but messaged me in November saying he wanted to take a step back and the restaurant was mine if I wanted it. He knew the place would be in safe hands and that I had a vision that could turn it around. 

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“That’s why I decided to put my surname to it. It really is personal.” 

Seating capacity has been reduced slightly to give diners more space. And chefs from across London and Suffolk have joined the team to put their stamp on the menu. “They know the area and local tastebuds. They know what local people like,” says Nasir. 

The menu at Jilani includes all the favourites customers might expect, but also several house specialities. 

East Anglian Daily Times:

King prawn pordashini comes in a delicate sauce flavoured with coconut. Murgh bahari sees chicken fillets stuffed with minced meat, marinated and then roasted in a clay oven. Lamb or chicken can be served chum chum style in spices, onions, garlic and fresh herbs, smothered with cheese. 

“One of my favourites,” says Nasir, “is the tawa. It’s a medium spiced, very flavoursome dish with lots of spices in it. It’s not like madras or jalfrezi hot. You can taste the spices. It’s quite unique because it’s served on a sizzler pan to the table. 

“I recommend the haryali as well. That is milder and full of flavour. I think we also have a good selection of fish, including monkfish.” 

The menu is complemented by Liberty Wine’s list. “Jane, who I deal with from Liberty, lives in Sudbury and knows the town inside out,” adds Nasir. “Again, she knows what local people like.” 

East Anglian Daily Times:

East Anglian Daily Times:

There are plans, in the future, to introduce cocktails to the drinks list, and also, hopefully, to bring in traditional Indian sweets and desserts (currently the offering is limited to ice cream). 

Nasir says the response so far has been brilliant, with people already booking for special occasions over the coming weeks. 

“I’m really excited about what we’re doing here. When you put your name to something there’s that extra added incentive to make sure you’re providing the best, from the interiors, to the cutlery, the plates, service, food and the drink. I wanted everything to be stylish. I think all the positive reviews so far, and people saying it’s amazing is great. It makes me really happy.” 

Jilani is open from 12noon to 2.30pm at weekend, and from 5pm to 11pm every evening. Takeaways are available.