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Professional Power Couple Join Forces to Open Dream Restaurant

[Advertising Editorial]

For medical doctor Snehal D’Souza, and his wife Crystal, a qualified solicitor, opening a restaurant was once just a pipe dream that was miles away from the reality of their day jobs. But intent on creating a space that Leicester could be proud of, the doors of Tandem, an Indian restaurant and cocktail bar opened in October 2019. 

Picture Credit: Pukaar Group

Less than six months after Tandem opened, the city went into lockdown. Although the D’Souzas admit the pandemic was a huge blow to them followed by an intensely tough period of uncertainty, they feel massively grateful for how the Tandem team pulled together during this time. “Our chefs have been with us through thick and thin. They’ve supported us through absolutely everything. Our whole team put their heart and soul into Tandem – we’re very lucky.”

Based in Highcross Shopping Centre, Tandem offers a slice of Goan spirit and Indian hospitality to the heart of Leicester. ‘Susegad’, which comes from the Portuguese word ‘sossegado’ for quiet, refers to the laidback attitude associated with the Indian state of Goa. For co-owners, Snehal and wife Crystal, it’s a concept which encapsulates the ethos of Tandem and threads its way through the five areas of the venue. 

Walking through the doors of the restaurant, you’re greeted by the luminous blue haze of a vibrant bar and behind it stands resident cocktail maker, Bamba, shaking things up. And that’s just the first room… Tandem’s interior boasts two floors of intricately designed Indo-Portuguese decor and for Crystal and Snehal, who are of Goan heritage, this was a result of a shared vision. “We have a blue room with seashells, a courtyard, verandah and the terrace. It all transports you to the open-air breeze of Goa.” But more importantly for Crystal, the layout and design of Tandem is intended to evoke a feeling. She explains: “Goa is famous for its fun-loving, relaxed atmosphere and we wanted to offer that to Leicester. We want to see people come in happy and leave happier – nothing means more than smiling faces.”

Picture Credit: Pukaar Group
Picture Credit: Pukaar Group

However, the D’Souzas were too passionate about food to confine the menu to Goan delicacies. “India is vast and we didn’t want to restrict ourselves, so although our main culinary influence is the Konkan belt of India, we’ve chosen dishes from every corner of India,” Snehal explains. From Peshwari naan to Hyderabad biryani, the Tandem menu has drawn on India’s expansive culinary palette to create a restaurant that can truly offer something for everyone. Although Tandem offers their delicious takes on old-time favourites such as chicken tikka masala and biryani, the passion of the couple paired with the skill of the chefs has resulted in their very own exciting creations such as salmon & honey mustard and rasmalai chocolate mousse. 

From its unique interior, it’s clear that Tandem was a passion project that was intended to cater to everyone and, from a business lunch to a chatty catch-up between friends, offer a setting that brings all people together. And for Snehal, togetherness was the seed that inspired Tandem. “This city has given a lot to us,” he explains, adding: “We wanted to give back to Leicester in a way that would complement the rest of the things the city has to offer such as the universities, football and rugby. We want people to say ‘It’s also got a beautiful restaurant as well!’”