Award-winning restaurant prides itself on serving the community

The Maharani Indian restaurant interior

The Maharani has been in operation since 1984 and has built up a loyal-customer base - Credit: Archant

Situated on Norwich Road in the heart of Ipswich, The Maharani Indian restaurant has been in operation since 1984 and has built up a loyal-customer base thanks to its bold, flavourful dishes and welcoming atmosphere. Proud to be part of the Ipswich community, the restaurant has done its part to support our town and its people over the years, with no sign of slowing down.

Owner Manik Miah, who took over the restaurant in the 1990s, has grown The Maharani into a family business that serves up incredible Indian Bangladeshi cuisine, achieving recognition from the British Curry Awards the Bangladesh Caterers Association.

Manik’s son, Minhaz, manages the restaurant alongside his father as well as working full-time as an anaesthetic practitioner at Ipswich Hospital. Minhaz was recognised as a finalist at the Asian Restaurant Owners Network (ARON) Awards, and is just as committed to creating special experiences for customers as his father.

“We don’t see them as customers, we see them as friends and family,” says Minhaz.

“Many customers have been seeing me since I was, I think, seven years old and I’m coming up to nearly 30 now, so I’ve grown up with a lot of the customers and they’ve seen my journey from primary school to university and beyond.”

After being warmly welcomed and seated, customers at The Maharani are spoilt for choice of delicious dishes to try. From chicken, beef, lamb and fish to fresh vegetables, duck and even goat – there's something to satisfy diners of all ages. And the knowledgeable team are always on hand to recommend dishes and take care of any dietary requirements.

“Our menu is just full of flavours, full of different ways of cooking, for everyone to be catered for,” says Minhaz. “And if we don’t have something we will happily cook anything that the customer wants.”

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The Maharani also boasts an ever-expanding vegan menu, which includes beloved dishes such as the handi vegetable patia; the hearty aloo gobi Dansak; and the classic shobzi garlic biryani.

“Every week we have customers that come in just for our vegan menu,” says Minhaz. “It’s doing really well!”

“The biggest feedback we get from customers is that every dish on the menu is unique and different in its own way and full of flavour,” he adds. “It’s not the same old Indian food every time they come in. They can try something different each time.”

Minhaz Miah from The Maharani, Ipswich at the ARON Awards

The whole team at The Maharani have big ambitions for the future - Credit: Minhaz Miah

With such a fantastic reputation built up over many years, The Maharani could easily be resting on its laurels. However, as Minhaz says: “It’s very important to work with your community and not just focus on the business.”

The Maharani regularly engages with charity and community events throughout the local area and supports the Mayor of Ipswich’s chosen charities each year.

“One of my proudest moments was taking part in Marcus Rashford’s #EndChildFoodPoverty campaign,” says Minhaz, “where we gave free food to children below a certain age.”

“During the pandemic we also offered free food to people in the community who were homeless or who couldn’t afford a hot meal.

“We love supporting charities and other organisations,” he adds, “and if our business can make a difference to someone’s life, that’s something we should be proud of.”

As we tentatively return to normal, The Maharani is focusing first and foremost on providing a warm welcome for Ipswich locals as we socialise and celebrate together again. But, never content to take it slow, Manik, Minhaz and the whole team have big ambitions for the future – from collaborating with local colleges to give catering students experience in an Indian Bangladeshi restaurant, to working with Ipswich Hospital and supporting the growth of Ipswich’s economy.

“I think the effects of the pandemic will last for a very long time. But that doesn’t mean that we should slow down in how we give back the community.”

The Maharani is located at 46 Norwich Road, Ipswich, IP1 2NJ. Bookings are still being accepted for Christmas parties and Boxing Day. Early booking is advised. For more information or to book your table, please visit www.maharaniipswich.co.uk

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