What do a former Bollywood actor and a chain of Canterbury ethnic restaurants have in common? No, it’s not a trick question. The answer is Amardeep Singh (Amar to his friends), the one-time Bollywood actor and model in India and now the owner of the Coriander’s Indian restaurant chain.
Established in 2006, Corianders’ take on Indian food has now been a popular favourite for some thirteen years, expanding to three locations – Rolleston, Christchurch CBD and Bush Inn – and serving hundreds of thousands of Cantabrians from all parts of the area. Visit any of the restaurants and delight in the delicious aromas wafting from the kitchens where the chefs expertly handle long skewers and tandoor ovens.
“I’m passionate about my restaurants and their food,” Amar says. “What our customers can be assured of wherever they dine at a Coriander’s Ethnic restaurant is the consistent quality of the dishes. I take a very personal role in ensuring that quality by visiting all the restaurants and sampling the food on a regular basis.”
Coriander’s restaurants not only offer the wonderful variety and taste of their authentic Northern India-inspired dishes, but also a relaxed dining experience with surroundings that are warm, traditional and inviting. The flagship colonial-style St Asaph Street restaurant is especially sophisticated and impressive, after Coriander’s breathed new life into the old Occidental and its beautiful veranda.
Two special banquets – silver and gold – are just the way to experience everything that Coriander’s has to offer. An exclusive chef’s selection with two courses of sure-fire favourites, this wonderful feast offers incredible value for money at $85 for a couple, including house wines. The banquet consists of: Starters — two vegetable samosas, two onion bhajis and two Coriander Special Chicken Tikka; Mains — Butter Chicken, Lamb Rogan Josh, mixed vegetables, rice and two naan breads. There’s an exquisite cocktail and beverage list and, with their ‘specials of the day’, there’s always new items to try.
Coriander’s St Asaph Street has a private function space – the Bollywood Room – ideal for pre-Christmas parties. Although it’s right in the CBD, there is a carpark available off Welles Street behind the restaurant. That’s also where you can pick up your takeaways. Check out Corianders’ mobile app for weekly specials and earn points on every visit to the St Asaph Street restaurant.
Tired of the stress of the all-important Christmas function? Make the easy choice this year by choosing the special Christmas menu at Corianders Ethnic Indian restaurants.
Book now at the new Bollywood banquet room at St Asaph Street and have the option of your very own Indian chef preparing the sumptuous fare with flavours that are enjoyed best when cooked fresh for you and your guests. With the best quality food, start your function with beverages on the balcony then move inside for some incredible dishes from your own tandoor, cooking starters just for you.
The Christmas fare is very special, with prices starting from $55 per person. You can start with the Dahi Poori. A form of chaat, its crispy puffy shells are served full of yoghurt, tamarin and a mixture of tasty Indian flavours. Crispy chicken is covered in a spicy coating with a wonderful dipping sauce. And try the classic Onion Bhaji or spicy lamb chops. The expansive menu at Corianders is as delicious as always and your choice of main is served with rice and a naan bread.
The all-important desserts feature a chocolate naan or vanilla ice cream covered in chocolate to cool down the palate after a flavour-filled main.
All this to be enjoyed with your choice of either a glass of bubbles, a kingfisher beer or a juice.
The Christmas menu is available in all four Corianders Ethnic Indian restaurants, Hanmer, St Asaph Street, Bush Inn and Rolleston, but bookings are mandatory. Book online or phone the restaurant.
“My dream was to be a famous Bollywood actor – yet somehow I have ended up in hospitality!” chuckles Amar Singh, owner of the Corianders restaurant group. Amar was indeed a Bollywood actor in India for a time, as well as a model and theatre actor.
But with downtimes in the entertainment industry and the need to pay the rent, Amar began working in hotels. The rest, as they say, is history.
Amar moved up through hotel management ranks and, with his eventual move to New Zealand in 2000, learned more about the cuisine of his native Northern India. Christchurch diners will remember him from his time at Gloucester Street’s Little India and Merivale’s wonderful Leinster House.
Amar was almost lost to hospitality however, after Leinster House was ear-marked for demolition. He was about to take up real estate, but was saved by a finance broker acquaintance who persuaded him to set up his own restaurant. And so, Corianders was born, first of all in Rolleston.
Now Amar wants to pass on his knowledge and love of Indian food through a series of Master Classes at the St Asaph Street Corianders, once a month on Wednesdays from 3pm to 4.30pm, beginning on 2 May. The cost of $30 per person includes a glass of bubbles and all the ingredients to cook one of the succulent dishes on the Corianders’ menu. There are even aprons provided.
To book for Amar’s Master Class phone Miranda on 021 339 707. This will not only be informative, but also great fun.