Dilli set to relaunch on The Downs – with a rent and rates saving of £48,000

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Dilli, the Indian restaurant that suddenly closed earlier this month, is to relaunch under a new owner on The Downs.

The restaurant, to be called The New Dilli, will take over the space at 21 The Downs that’s currently occupied by Italian restaurant Farina – the site formerly occupied by Juniper, the one-time Michelin-starred jewel among Altrincham’s eateries.

Manager Pankaj Sharma told Altrincham Today that the opportunity to take over Farina had come about during a chance conversation with owner Manzar Hashim in a coffee shop.

The two had struck up a conversation while sitting at nearby tables, during which Bangladesh-born Hashim – who had only taken over ownership of Farina a couple of months ago – admitted he was interested in relaunching his restaurant.

Sharma said that, from there, “things happened very quickly” and “everything was sorted out in a very peaceful manner”.

Farina will now stop trading on October 12th to allow for an interior redesign as the restaurant is converted from an Italian to an Indian, with The New Dilli opening from 5.30pm on October 18th.

Perhaps the most astonishing aspect of the deal is that the rent and rates on the new restaurant will be a total of £29,000 annually – a full £48,000 less than the amount that forced Dilli owner Ravi Bajaj to close down his Stamford New Road restaurant and vow never to work in Altrincham again.

The new 95-cover restaurant – 50-capacity on the main floor, 45 downstairs – will have a “slightly different” menu from the original Dilli, Sharma said, but would stick to the same concept of “traditional, Indian regional food”.

The acclaimed former head chef of Dilli, Mohammed Naeem, will be part of the same team moving to the new restaurant. Dilli owner Bajaj is not involved.

Two full-time staff who worked at Farina have already found other jobs to move to, Sharma added.

He said that he had already taken three bookings for a total of 30 people over Christmas, with a party of 65 booked in for New Year’s Eve.

Sharma added: “We are very pleased and will not leave Altrincham at any cost. We have no worries about the new location – the town is on the up again.”

Below: The New Dilli, and the old Farina restaurant it has now taken over

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