For five decades, Sharmilee has been a beloved purveyor of sweet Indian treats and delectable vegetarian cuisine on Leicester’s iconic Golden Mile.
Established in 1973, this family-run shop has become a cultural landmark, attracting not only locals but also Bollywood royalty. Over the years, luminaries like Shilpa Shetty have graced its premises, and in 2013, the store even played a starring role in the film ‘Jadoo.’
Reflecting on the remarkable journey, Ashish Gosai, the current custodian of Sharmilee, alongside his brothers, expresses pride in the shop’s longevity. “When people tell me 50 years, I find it a bit hard to believe. That, in itself, is a really big achievement,” told Pukaar. “When you think of the number of businesses that have come and gone in that time, and all those that have changed around us, it’s incredible…”
Sharmilee was founded by Ashish’s grandfather, Laxman Val Bharti Gosai, who arrived in the UK after managing the DarEs-Salaam Hotel in Tanzania for three decades. Missing the traditional Indian sweets from his homeland, he began crafting handmade delights, filling a gap in the market as other Indian immigrants settled in the area, craving familiar treats.
In 1988, the store underwent a significant expansion, adding an upstairs restaurant that served a range of delicious vegetarian dishes. While the menu has evolved to include dishes from across the Indian continent, as well as some
with a Chinese influence, the commitment to freshness remains unchanged. Every order is prepared on-site, following authentic recipes, a testament to Sharmilee’s dedication to
Ashish emphasizes the importance of the familial atmosphere within the business. “I think one of the main reasons that we’re still here is that most of the staff are family or very close friends. People are working not just for money, but because they want to put their heart and soul into the business to make sure the food is cooked and prepped properly and the customer is satisfied.”
Continuing his grandfather’s legacy is an honour for Ashish, who sees the growth of Sharmilee beyond Leicester as a testament to the brand’s enduring appeal. Proudly shipping products across the UK, from Newcastle to Scotland, Sharmilee stands as a beacon of success built on the foundation of quality ingredients, authentic recipes, and a dedicated staff.
“My grandad was a great man. When he came over with his family, he came with absolutely nothing. But he used his skills to build a life and a great business here in the UK.” he said.
“It’s a real honor to carry on his legacy, and hopefully, we’ll still be here in another 50 years – that’s the plan!”