Resh Sonchhatla and Heena Varambia are the couple behind chapati club, a west London restaurant serving the Indian and Kenyan-influenced dishes they grew up with. Neither Resh nor Heena had experience of running a restaurant, but chapati club was an instant hit with Acton locals when it opened in 2017. With its home-style cooking, killer playlist, and relaxed, inclusive vibe, it’s the sort of place you dream about having in your neighbourhood.
chapati club recently celebrated its fourth birthday and expanded into south London with a Bermondsey-based delivery service. We caught up with Resh and Heena to find out more about their food and their plans for the future.
Tell us how chapati club came about. What, or who, inspired your recipes?
The story begins with us falling in love with real, homemade Indian food, which was what we ate every day at home growing up and we felt so lucky. After we met in 2010, we felt this had to be shared with everyone and it was all we talked about. chapati club was then born in 2017. After a bad day in the office, Resh found a spot in Acton and we (without any experience) opened chapati club.
Do you have a favourite dish? Anything a first-timer shouldn’t miss?
Everything on the menu is there for a reason, we have carefully curated the menu so our diners can experience the food we grew up on and feel the love. Saying that, if you’re enjoying a beer or a glass of wine, you really should snack on our bhel puri at the same time!
Can diners look forward to more live music and comedy nights when restrictions are lifted?
100%! We have booked our comedy nights for the rest of the year and we hope to add more acoustic music nights too.
You recently launched a delivery service in south London. What’s next for chapati club?
Right now, we’re focusing on getting people back through the door, bringing back the community to a space where they feel comfortable, especially after the last year or so we’ve all had. However, we are working on a few exciting projects!
Are there ways that you bring LGBTQ+ pride into your work?
We have held many events that encourage LGBTQ+ meetups. We hope to kick start these again really soon! We also ensure our staff all have time off so we can attend the Pride Parade in London every year. We’re really looking forward to attending again in September.
You’ve described chapati club as your ‘third child’ – how do you balance family life with running a busy restaurant?
We try to plan our days well and we support each other with general day-to-day life. Everything else falls into place as we are passionate and care about chapati club.
When you’re not working, where do you like to dine out in London?
We have always been big fans of supporting independent restaurants and were fortunate enough to dine at Ampeli on Charlotte Street before lockdown in Jan 2020. We cannot wait to go there again! We are big fans of Mildreds, too.
Visit OpenTable to book a table at Chapati Club.