Chai House’s Jasan Singh with manager Ali Waite.
Chai House’s Jasan Singh with manager Ali Waite.

Familiar faces open up new cafe

AFTER starting out washing dishes in the kitchen of one of Ipswich's most popular restaurants, Jasan Singh has seen every side of the hospitality industry.

Now he is ready to take the next step up.

Mr Singh has been working for Indian Mehfil owner Rajesh Sharma for 14 years and manages the CBD eatery.

The pair have joined forces to open a new cafe in Silkstone, with Mr Singh running the show.

Chai House opened its doors this week, offering top quality coffee and a "modern Australian" menu with a Nepalese twist.

Everything will be made fresh and a kitchen had to be installed at the site in Silkstone Village.

"I started as a kitchen hand and dish washing and made my way through to cooking and managing," Mr Singh said.

"The chef (Sudesh Shrestha) is from Nepal.

"He has given some twists to some dishes. When you come in and try for yourself, you're in for a surprise."

Mr Sharma said the cafe's location in the shopping complex, right next to a Coles supermarket, was the perfect place to set up shop.

"We thought Indian is getting harder," he said.

"It's harder in the sense that getting a chef from overseas is pretty much impossible.

"We thought how about we start something which can have longevity. The area is developing and more and more people are coming to live here."

Mr Singh will remain in his role at Indian Mehfil but the restaurant will remain closed until at least April to repair a sunken floor.

A few employees will work at the cafe while the floor of the Ipswich City Council owned building is being repaired.

The cafe is open for breakfast and lunch and there are plans to obtain a liquor licence and open for dinner as well further down the track.

Mr Shrestha worked as head chef of Stumps Hotel, which was co-owned by Mr Sharma, until it closed in 2015.

"He has worked at very good restaurants and cafes in Brisbane," Mr Sharma said.

"He also feels there was unfinished business we left with Stumps Hotel."

Mr Sharma said Mr Singh was ready to make his mark.

"He's been more than just an employee to me," he said.

"To stay in the one business, especially in hospitality where people come and go, that is very rare to have an employee like that."