Image©Kake, used under Creative Commons cc-by-nc-sa

London Road has become a popular destination for vegetarians and vegans wanting to enjoy Indian street food.

Trendy eatery Urban Guj (pictured) and Santosh have created a cool new foodie buzz. The three brothers behind Santosh have been championing fresh and traditionally made, vegetarian, Indian food with a Kenyan twist since 1986 and their newly refitted shop on London Road is now serving up hot food alongside their much loved sweets and savouries. London Road has seen a bit of a revival in recent times with new shops opening along with a state-ofthe- art academy which opened its doors to school children this month.

Urban Guj with its vegetarian take on the urban burger and pizza Samosas with Masla chips and an array of chai drinks is the brainchild of computer science student Nand Shah.

He swapped algorithms for recipes to create the street food cafe where members of all walks of life are welcome to come and chai-up, socialise, eat and find some time to unwind.

When he was studying Computer Science at King’s College London, Nand wanted a place near home where he could meet friends and enjoy vegetarian food.

Nand said: “My journey began two years ago when I spent eight months travelling around the world to seek inspiration. Learning about different cultures, food, vibrations and the enjoyment of being together was an enlightening experience for me.

“My traditional heritage came from East-Africa and India, the fusion of flavours and food really gave me an idea of something that would be greatly appreciated within the area, especially because of the culture it holds.

“When I came back to London, I had learned so much. I started playing with what I knew best, Indian food. Being able to maintain the traditional taste but add something more to bring a new sense of dimension to the dishes is where the fun began. Urban Guj started out with only five food items.”

A great deal of research and development was undertaken and one by one, the café now has over 40 items on the menu which cross between different cultures for spices, tastes and more.

With its modern contemporary interior, Urban Guj at 846 London Road, started to attract a loyal following of customers, that visit every day or a few times a week, either using UberEats, Deliveroo, JustEat or coming into the café.

Customers love the fact that the food is so fresh and even if they have to wait a few-minutes-more it’s worth waiting for. Currently, Urban Guj which is a vegetarian and vegan café has a year-end goal to be completely vegan with their food and are already working on redeveloping recipes to fit this criteria.

Nand added: “Over the years people have become so accustomed to what was around the area but it needed a refresher and a booster. Thornton Heath packs in so much culture, such a beautiful community, so why not bring it altogether with a great place to chill, communicate and enjoy? That’s what Urban Guj provides.”

Santosh, at 830 London Road, has developed its relationship with its customers over many years and is now attracting a new following with its rebranded look which often has people queuing up to sample its tasty treats.