A NEW restaurant offering a choice of south Indian or English food is set to open in Basingstoke, offering themed rooms for private parties.

The unit in Anchor Court at the Top of Town is being refurbished ahead of the opening of Elai at the end of June.

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Unni Bala, who owns the new restaurant, previously ran Chennai Express in Basingstoke, and is now looking forward to his next venture.

The 48-year-old father-of-two from Basingstoke has worked in the restaurant industry for 24 years and said he hopes to bring the “wow factor” to the town with the opening of Elai.

Described as “dining with a difference” Elai will offer traditional south Indian cuisine such as curries along with popular English favourites including roasts, wraps, salads and fish and chips.

Unni said: “We are refitting the restaurant and the private rooms will have different themes. It will have the wow factor. There will be three different rooms for parties with different themes.”

These include a garden themed room and a peacock themed room.

The upstairs dining room will be able to accommodate 40 people, and work is being carried out to expose the old beams of the building.

Unni said the restaurant will open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

He said the restaurant's tag of ‘dine with a difference’ refers to the atmosphere customers can expect, adding: “I know this town and I know the people really well and we are looking forward to giving people the wow factor.”

The new restaurant, which will employ five chefs and six other staff, is set to launch a ‘soft opening’ in the first week of June with a limited menu, before opening fully later in the year.

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