About Shalimar (The Indian Lounge)

Enjoy the mouth-watering taste of authentic Indian cuisine cooked the traditional tandoori way at Shalimar in Pukekohe.

This exciting new restaurant and takeaway has only been open for few months, and in that time has already received raving reviews from locals.

"That's because when it comes to cuisine, we don't take the shortcuts commonly used by many in the Indian restaurant and takeaway industry today," says Avishkar Pokharkar, who manages the restaurant.

"We cook using charcoal, the traditional tandoori way, not gas, which is a poor substitute. Charcoal gives your meat and naan bread that succulent, distinctively smoky taste - something you just can't replicate any other way. We also make the sauce for each curry individually, using authentic Indian spice combinations, rather than simply adding spices to a single base sauce. And we don't go in for artificial colouring; instead, we always want our customers to be drawn in by the fantastic flavour of our food."

Having managed high-end restaurants in India, the UK and New Zealand for 19 years, it's no wonder Avishkar is this particular when it comes to the food he serves in his restaurant. The same is true of chef Rana, who has been cooking authentic Indian food in top restaurants for two decades.

"Pukekohe is our home. My family and Rana live right here and so we wanted to give the people within our community a true taste of India, as well as a great selection of Indo-Chinese food," Avishkar says.