A new Indian buffet restaurant is gearing up to open in a long vacant unit in one of Reading’s shopping malls.
Chilis will be opening up in the upper portion of The Village mall, better known as King’s Walk, very soon.
It will be taking over from the Art of Siam, which closed in December 2015.
The Local Democracy Reporting Service swung by the restaurant to take a sneak peek.
The people behind Chilis, Friends United Ltd, are no strangers to the trade, as they have run the Chilis in Newbury for a number of years.
Crucially, the restaurant will be buffet only.
Anjan Vonteddu, manager of Chilis Reading, explained: “We’re starting with Indian food, and we want to extend the menu.
“Depending on what people ask for, we are happy to prepare for them.
“For example, if we have a party for 30 people, if you want some fried rice, I’m happy to do that.
“If you want, I’ll make my home-made food for you. With a buffet I don’t have a set menu, so I’m open for anything.”
The buffet will be self-service, with guests able to enjoy Indian street food, salads, main courses, starters and desserts, with the offering changing between lunchtime and dinner time serving.
Mr Vonteddu added: “We are mainly focused on chicken, fish and vegetarian.
“Every time the people come they will find new dishes, so that people always taste fresh food and different flavours.”
However, he did say certain dishes would reappear on a weekly or monthly basis.
Continuing, Mr Vonteddu said: “Everything is freshly cooked.
“The most important thing is you’ll find a lot of flavours, each day is different.
“It’s all home-made, with a village cuisine feel.
“You’ll never find food this good anywhere else!”
Although there were hopes Chilis would open in September, its new date is set for Tuesday, November 1.
Mr Vonteddu said: “It’s a very tough time, in this situation, but still a really good time to open the restaurant because everybody is starving for the food, because everything is expensive.
“We are just opening a buffet, our Newbury one is a fine dine restaurant, around 45 covers, and here we have around 60 covers, all for buffet.”
Work is still taking place on the unit, but Mr Vonteddu said they are ’90 per cent’ ready to open.
Earlier this year, Friends United applied to open and sell alcohol from 9am to 11pm each day.
Their licensing application has since been approved.
Chilis won’t be the only Indian restaurant opening in The Village either.
Bombay Brothers is set to open in lower part of the mall, next to Ji The Chicken Shop, which serves up halal oriental chicken to diners.
Bombay Brothers recently applied to build an extractor fan for its kitchen.
The application can be found by typing reference 221363 into Reading Borough Council’s planning portal.