Kayal Group’s Triumph: Celebrating Awards and 20 Years of Delicious Heritage

GFC favourites the Kayal Group have been celebrating. Over the last few months, they have been on a great run of award wins. These have ranged from TripAdvisor naming their vegan restaurant Herb in Leicester the second best vegetarian restaurant in the nation (and 13th in the entire World!) to Kayal winning Restaurant of the Year in the Leicestershire Curry Awards.

To mark their success, they have held a series of parties for friends and regulars, with guests treated to prosecco, classy canapes, live music, magicians and a buffet featuring a wide range of their mouthwatering South Indian cuisine.

At Kayal, this meant the likes of coconut prawns, feisty grilled fish fillets and the rich and aromatic lamb dish cheera erachi. At Herb, you could start with tangy bhel puri and fill up with beautifully spiced vegetable curries, plus dosas and breads from the spongy appams to the flakey parathas.

The parties also coincided with the 20th anniversary of Kayal’s presence on Granby Street in Leicester. Originally opening as a vegetarian restaurant called Halli, it was the first venue to bring South Indian food to the region and was an immediate hit. Owner Jaimon Thomas (pictured below) wanted to showcase a broader range of Keralan food and rebranded to Kayal, with its signature fish and prawn dishes inspired by the famous ‘backwaters’ of Kerala.

Jaimon has a long history in hospitality, honed on international cruise ships, and the mantra Atithi Devo Bhava (‘A Guest is God”) has inspired the outstanding, warm service ethos in these restaurants. Along with a commitment to good sourcing and authentic recipes, it has helped Kayal not just thrive in Leicester but expand to open branches in Nottingham, West Byfleet and Leamington Spa (a winner in the Asian Food and Restaurant Awards in December 2023!).

Excitingly, a new branch of Herb will be coming to Leamington Spa in the summer of 2024. It will, no doubt, feature the exuberant artwork and decoration that is another trademark, much of it sourced by Jaimon himself on trips back to Kerala.

Great food, service and ambience – when they all come together, it’s a beautiful thing.

The author:

Leicestershire editor Tim lives in Leicester has been a journalist for 30 years, and over the last 12 years he has been restaurant critic for Metro, Great Food Club and the Leicester Mercury. He is also author of 2016 publication The Leicestershire and Rutland Cookbook.