Leeds street food cafe Manjit’s Kitchen raises £ 40,000 to open new restaurant

Manjit’s Kitchen in Kirkgate Market is run by Manjit Kaur, from Chapeltown, who started cooking Indian street food for delivery from his home in 2010.

She and her husband Michael then converted an old horse-drawn van into a food truck that they would take to festivals, events and weddings.

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In 2016, she opened Manjit’s Kitchen in the food hall of the market, offering vegetarian and vegan Indian cuisine.

The cafe was a huge success and Manjit is now looking to expand into new premises so that he can continue to trade in the evenings.

She has launched a Kickstarter campaign with the aim of raising £ 40,000 through public donations.

Anyone who contributes will receive rewards such as meals in the new restaurant or catering for a private event.

The company now employs eight people and this summer won the title of best street food at the BBC Food and Farming Awards.

So far £ 5,000 has been pledged by donors. Manjit herself has already raised a third of the planned opening costs.

“We learned a lot running the cafe and now we are ready to take that learning forward and open another place,” said Manjit.

“As we are market based, the cafe closes at 5pm. We therefore built the café solely on the midday trade. We now want to build another place that we can also open in the evening.

“I want to employ more people and continue to develop our style of Indian vegetarian cuisine. We can develop our beverage offering by expanding our partnerships with local breweries and creating a cocktail menu.

“I believe that an independent and thriving business scene is important to a city and we want to be part of it. We work closely with local charities and, through our business, we want to make Leeds a better place.”

The money raised by the Kickstarter fundraising campaign will be used to purchase kitchen equipment and set up a new site, as well as rental, surveying, legal and licensing fees.

“I don’t want to go to the bank. I went there once and it wasn’t much fun. With your help and support, we can make it happen.”

Manjit is currently viewing potential sites for the new business.

Kickstarter will reimburse donors if the fundraising goal is not met by a specified time frame – which in this case is the end of October.

Anyone pledging over £ 10 will receive a voucher to spend at the restaurant when it opens, while donors who donate over £ 30 will receive a free meal for two. Other rewards include an invitation to the launch party and a van tour to a private party for up to 100 guests.

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