Leeds: The Indian cricket team arrived at the Tharavadu restaurant in Leeds during the Onam. Team India’s Onasadya, which includes eighteen varieties of curries and Adaprathaman, is served on banana leaves.
Captain Virat Kohli and his wife Anushka Sharma, who regularly dine at Tharavadu restaurant in the UK, came to Tharavadu this time too with all the members of the Indian cricket team for their favourite Onam dinner. The 65-member squad will represent India in the Test match in Leeds on Wednesday August 25.
At around 1pm on Sunday August 22, Kohli and Anushka arrived at the Tharavadu Restaurant along with other team members. The team from the restaurant wearing a Kerala style dress gave a warm welcome to the Indian cricket team and further Pookkalam and Nilavilakku gave them a festive feel. Kohli and his group enjoyed the Onam feast and spent about two hours at the Tharavadu restaurant.
Apart from Virat Kohli and Anushka, other team members were Ajinkya Rahane, K. L. Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Cheteshwara Pujara, Mohammad Shami, Shardul Thakur, Ishant Sharma, Jaspreet Bumra, Mohammad Siraj, Hanuma Vihari, Suryakumar Yadav and Prasidh Krishna, who also came along with their families. Ravi Shastri too accompanied the team to partake in Onasadya.
During the visit, Prakash Mendonca, the Managing Partner of Tharavadu Restaurant and K. L. Rahul who belong to Mangaluru region reminicised their days in the City conversing the local language, Tulu, which was quite endearing. On their return after the Onam celebrations, Kohli and Anushka handed over a handwritten message congratulating the restaurant team.
Rishikesh Upadhyay, BCCI’s Logistics Manager, had come to Tharavadu by chance in 2014 while the Indian team was in Leeds. He liked the food very much and introduced Tharavadu Restaurant to the Indian team. M. S. Dhoni, Virat Kohli, who was the captain of the team at the time, and Sanju Samson, who were part of the team, later visited Tharavadu and savoured the delicacies. Virat Kohli, who loved the food that day, gave an assurance to Prakash Mendonca that he would keep visiting again. Later, as requested by the team, South Indian food such as dosa, chutney, idli, vada, sambar among others were brought from home. However, soon the Indian team that came to Leeds got into the habit of eating at Tharavad.
The first day the Indian team came to play in Leeds in 2019, unexpectedly, Kohli and his wife Anushka came to the Tharavadu and met Prakash Mendonca and told him that he had fulfilled his promise he made during the last visit. The team could not provide special seating for them as the restaurant was very busy. As usual, Kohli and his wife ate masala dosa, mutta roast and vegetarian thali because they are the special items of the family. While they were eating, a member of the English family who was eating at the table next to them posted a picture on Facebook of Kohli and his wife Anushka eating. Within seconds, people had gathered inside and outside the Tharavad restaurant. Then they ate and quickly left the place. In the days that followed, the food was delivered in parcels to the hotel where they were staying.
Tharavad Restaurant, which opened in Leeds in June 2014, is seven years old. Sibi Jose, Prakash Mendonca, Rajesh Nair, Ajit Nair and Manoharan Gopal are the directors of the Tharavdu. Tharavad Restaurant is one hundred percent successful in making South Indian food palatable to the western community without losing any of its taste and uniqueness. For example, the restaurant is filled daily with the western community. Many celebrities come to Yorkshire from far and wide to visit Tharavadu. Prakash told the success of the team was only the result of the collective effort of the staff.