By Emma Roberts
Jas Gill, the owner of the Funky Indian restaurant, and his wife started out making meals from scratch during lockdown in 2020 selling meals with the slogan “flavours from the Punjab, brought to your table”.
The restaurant ‘funks things up’ by doing something unexpected being the first Indian restaurant to open that does not serve a curry and the creator of the ‘Naan-izza’, a punjabi pizza.
Owner Jas is proudly Pudsey born and bred. His family having owned a local shop for over 20 years on Owlcotes Road, influenced him and his wife to open a restaurant in Pudsey.
The couple describe people of Pudsey as grafters and they wanted to open the family business to provide their authentic home cooked meals with a home from home approach to hospitality. They wanted customers to feel like they are being welcome into their own kitchen where they will be served authentic Punjabi cuisine.
Recently a family who came to dine at the restaurant, brought their autistic grandson and advised staff, who immediately asked how they could make their meal more comfortable.
From this experience the owners began thinking what changes he could make to create a more inclusive dining experience for families who care for someone with special needs or disabilities.
Jas himself opened the restaurant so that he could work around his own health needs and support his own family. He has had his own health challenges and has been a wheelchair user, he says there are some people who still find it hard to accept that some disabilities cannot be seen/are not visible.
So the owners consulted with local folk and their customers and decided to launch a new inclusive two hour family dining sessions.
Offering natural lighting, lowering music, providing sensory lighting, a decking area outdoor breather space, free parking, children are able to bring toys, devices and sensory toys staff are on hand to help families to relax and enjoy their meal and not to worry if a mess or afraid to ask for what they need.
The Richardshaw Lane restaurant is happy to cater to the families food needs, for example they recognise some parents may need to bring food with them if the child has food triggers/restricted diet.
This has made it possible for parents to sit and enjoy a grown up meal whilst not having the anxiety about being judged by others.
For more details about the autism-friendly events, follow the restaurant on Facebook.