Indian restaurant spices up lives of people on street

Indi Singh gives food to the homeless on Wednesdays. Picture: Toby Williams
Indi Singh gives food to the homeless on Wednesdays. Picture: Toby Williams
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TWO big-hearted restaurant bosses are serving up free food for the Capital’s homeless.

Brothers Indi and Ramon Singh, who own Chaska in Albert Street, Leith, are dishing out dinner from 4pm to 5pm each Wednesday.

And the vegetable curry and rice, normally priced at £3.50, is being gobbled up by the homeless.

Along with five staff, the brothers spend two hours every week cooking up enough food to feed 100 people.

Despite putting them out of pocket by up to £350 every week, the modest pair insist they are happy to serve the community.

“We are doing it just because it’s a good cause and it’s give and take,” Indi, 25, explained.

“In our religion, Sikhism, we have a Golden Temple called the Harmandir Sahib, in India, where they serve more than 100,000 people every day and anyone can have their food 24/7 at no cost, so we’re just continuing that.

“If we run out we make more and people seem to like it. We have our regulars but we’d just like to let people know we are here – we’re not going away.”

Ramon, 27, explained how the brothers had been working as waiters before deciding to fulfil their dream by opening their own restaurant in March.

He said: “When we were working as waiters, we would finish at night and see many people on the street. Some of them were clearly hungry, so that’s where the idea came from.”

One diner, homeless William Sainsbury, 41, said he would be back for more next week. “It’s the first time I’ve tasted this kind of food – I’ve never had an Indian before,” he said. “There should be a lot of homeless places like this.”

Another man, who visited yesterday with his dog Shola, also said he’d be making a return visit. “It’s really filling and I’m going to come down every week now,” he said.

The brothers’ selflessness has been praised on Twitter, with many people vowing to become paying customers at the restaurant since finding out about the scheme.

One man praising them was Steven Wilson, a volunteer at the nearby Missionaries of Charity centre, in Hopetoun Crescent, which also feeds the homeless.

“I think it’s great,” he said. “They are giving something back to the needy, so if they can open their doors and help the less fortunate or people who are down on their luck, then good on them.

“More businesses should be like this – too many bin their food every day – why don’t they give it to people?”

katie.richardson@edinburghnews.com