Café Spice Namaste traces its roots to the day Chef Patron Cyrus Todiwala decided he wanted to become a chef, initially against his parents’ wishes. It was eighties Bombay and undeterred, Cyrus went on to study Hotel Administration and Food Technology at Basant Kumar Somani Polytechnic. Upon graduation, he began his professional career with the Taj Group in Bombay, where he met his wife Pervin, also a trained chef.
Cyrus and Pervin moved to Goa, where Cyrus was appointed Corporate Executive Chef overseeing Taj Holiday Village, The Fort Aguada Beach Resort and the Aguada Hermitage. It was a big role, but in 1989 came a change of direction. Cyrus decided to leave the Taj to help restart a famous restaurant in Poona
An even bigger step was leaving India for London in 1991 to run the Namaste restaurant in Alie Street. It was here that Cyrus developed his hallmark style of blending traditional Indian culinary techniques and flavours with more unexpected ingredients. This ethos quickly evolved further at Café Spice Namaste, established in 1995. Today, the business is run by a dynamic husband and wife team. Much to Cyrus’ delight, Pervin hopped on board in the late nineties, having raised two young sons.
Together, Cyrus and Pervin have built an award-winning institution renowned worldwide for its innovative and fresh approach to Pan-Indian cuisine. But Café Spice Namaste is also highly regarded for its commitment to staff training, being the only Indian restaurant in the UK to be named an Investors in People Champion organisation. Ahead of its time in its commitment to the environment and sustainability, the restaurant holds a Green Apple Award for Environmental Best Practice, and won the Sustainable Food Award at the 2011 City of London Sustainable Cities Awards.
Hard work and an indomitable ‘can do’ spirit have brought their rewards. In December 2011, Cyrus and Pervin opened their first outpost in West London, in the brand new Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 — ‘Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen’ — bringing to the other side of the capital many of the culinary favourites for which Cafe Spice Namaste is so renowned. In 2013, they opened The Park Cafe in Victoria Park East, London, and in 2014 they launched Assado, a Goan-Portuguese restaurant in London Waterloo, steps from the Old Vic.
Summer 2013 saw the broadcast of ‘The Incredible Spicemen’ on BBC2, starring Cyrus Todiwala and Tony Singh, marking the very first time Indian chefs had appeared in their own primetime series. A cookbook tie-in quickly rose to the top of the Amazon charts. In Autumn 2013, ‘Mr Todiwala’s Bombay’, Cyrus’ fourth cookbook (fifth, if we count ‘The Incredible Spicemen’) was published by Hardie Grant.