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With a name that means ‘Glimpses of Punjab’, the Raunka Punjab Diyan in Southall offers more than a fleeting view of India. The whole interior is an artistic recreation of a rural Punjabi village, an impression further enhanced by colourful ethnic furnishings and staff dressed in traditional costumes. Restaurateur and owner Rajen Wadheran was inspired to develop the concept after previous success running themed venues. He commissioned an artist from India to paint a mural of golden, sun-warmed landscapes with villagers plying their daily tasks; fetching water, spinning or cooking. Another wall depicts an old-style tractor, complete with passengers and 3D effects. There are authentic Indian cooking pots and artefacts dotted around and there’s even a vintage Enfield motorbike on display. Diners love the ambiance, especially those who hail from the thriving Seikh community in Southall, many of whom describe Raunka Punjab Diyan as a home from home.

Raunka Punjab Divan, Southall

Sheesh Mahal, Hartlepool

A stamp inspired the wonderful paintings of artist Suzie Devey which now adorn the walls of the Sheesh Mahal restaurant in Seaton Carew, Hartlepool. Suzie explains: “The restaurant owner, Shahrouf Miah, wanted one painting of the Taj Mahal, on the wall. I collected postage stamps as a little girl and I remembered one stamp which featured the Taj Mahal. I researched other stamps and presented the idea of enlarging the stamps from over 2cm square to over 8 feet! They liked the idea so much they wanted me to create the design around the entire walls of the restaurant.” Suzie then worked with the owners’ whole family to create the large-scale henna designs. “They were a wonderful family to work with,” remembers Suzie. “The dancers were the owner’s daughters’ idea as they wanted to have a contemporary twist to their space which reflected their love of Bollywood films. The girl behind the bar was created to tie the design together.” It took about 100 hours to create the paintings which now also include a temple in Kolkata, a Bengali tiger, Bollywood dancing and a tea picker in India. The result is a vibrant, contemporary and inspiring space that draws on the contemporary as well as the traditional. The Miah family was so thrilled with the results they held a relaunch of the restaurant just to showcase the artwork. “We are over the moon with Suzie’s work,” said Samia Begum, daughter of Shahrouf Miah. “The customers are really happy with it and it has made the restaurant look really homely.” For Suzie, playing with scale and proportion and creating new ideas are the most enjoyable aspects of art. “My ethos is that paintings are for people, not just walls!” she says.


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