Indian Balti at Kirwood has won two awards and is a finalist in a third. Celebrating their success are (from left) chefs Amrik Singh Sidhu, Deepak Kumar and Ranjit Singh.
Indian Balti at Kirwood has won two awards and is a finalist in a third. Celebrating their success are (from left) chefs Amrik Singh Sidhu, Deepak Kumar and Ranjit Singh. Chris Chan

Restaurant looks forward to competition as centre expands

KIRKWOOD will become the food capital of the Gladstone region.

That's the vision of Kirkwood Shopping Centre's first restaurant owner and, far from worrying about the new competition, he believes it will create a win-win situation.

Indian Balti opened at the brand new centre in May and is already winning awards.

The team has won the award for Best New Restaurant in the 2012 Savour Australia Restaurant and Catering Hostplus Awards for Excellence.

Owner Ajay Bakshi said the award was a fitting reward for his team, who had worked hard to set the restaurant on a successful path in its first seven months.

"This award is really all about the boys," he said of his kitchen crew. "They have earned it."

Indian Balti is the only restaurant at Kirkwood Shopping Centre, but that will change when a new section opens with three restaurants.

Asked whether he was concerned about losing business to his new neighbours, Mr Bakshi said it would actually be a benefit to his business.

"That will be good," he said. "This will be a food place."

Far from having to compete against too many restaurants, Mr Bakshi said the arrival of more restaurants would turn the area into Gladstone's premiere food destination, which would present an opportunity for Indian Balti to prosper.

For now, the kitchen is flat out cooking up to 200 meals a day.

The location in the heart of Gladstone's growth area is proving perfect, which echoes what other businesses in the centre have said.

The stress of starting a new business has been replaced by the pressure to living up to the reputation earned.

Of course, like every business in Gladstone, there is a continuous struggle to staff the workplace - authentic Indian chefs don't grow on trees.

But it seems the region can't get enough of its newest Indian restaurant.

Mr Bakshi is opening a second Indian Balti in the Valley Shopping Centre and planning to open a restaurant in Tannum Sands.

Award details:

  • Best New Restaurant in the 2012 Savour Australia Restaurant and Catering Hostplus Awards for Excellence.
  •  The judges came in on a secret visit to the restaurant. They assessed service, ambience, food taste, food quality and how the staff handled problems.
  •  Mr Bakshi said his crew had been the key to winning the award, including head chef Deepak Kumar, Ranjit Singh and Amrik Singh.


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