Everest Dine owner Hari Bhakta Maharajan proves anything is possible with a blend of hard work, passion and dedication.
The restaurant trade is a tough business. With long, unsociable hours and demanding clientele it can be difficult to establish and maintain a successful brand. However, one multi-award-winning restaurateur proves that a smile can go a long way in winning the hearts of local people.
Following in the footsteps of his father and three brothers, Hari Bhakta Maharajan began working in the hospitality industry in Nepal at the age of 17. For him, the idea of working as a waiter seemed to be the natural choice and the same route the rest of his family had taken.
In 2001, after working for various hotels in Nepal, Hari moved to Dubai where he learnt the ins and outs of the food trade. He spent seven years climbing the ladder and received various promotions along the way. He also picked up valuable skills and was able to improve his English-speaking skills:
“It was a great opportunity for me to learn about working at the front of house as this is my predominant role at Everest Dine. There is a lot of valuable training you receive when working for 5-star establishments and I will forever be grateful,” said Hari.
In 2009 he decided to move to the UK, Leicester specifically to see what it would be like to work in a different environment. His family was still living in Nepal so it was a brave decision to move further away but Hari was determined to make a success of himself, and create a stable environment before bringing them over.
He began working at Paprika in Watermead, splitting his time working with the catering team and in a customer-facing role, which gave him knowledge about the local market and the demands for South Asian food in Leicester. Following the restaurant’s closure in 2015, Hari decided to go back to his Nepalese heritage and began working with Everest Dine in Northampton.
“I spent eight-to-nine months working there; building relationships and assisting with the opening of a new restaurant. But the Leicester customers would often ask when I’d be at the Leicester branch. It was very flattering and the reason for my relocation to the Leicester branch as the management felt I would be valuable there.”
With his family now in the country, things were beginning to fall into place. A year later he was met with an exciting opportunity to take over the restaurant. “It was scary of course as I didn’t have experience of running my own business, but at the same time I knew the industry, the people in it, and wanted to do something positive for myself and my family – so I just went for it.”
Hari’s main role now at Everest Dine is to manage the front of house and ensure his customers are happy. With a genuine, friendly personality and a permanent smile it’s easy to see why he’s loved. His passion for authentic Nepalese food is evident to anyone who speaks with him, but what’s even more refreshing is his strong focus on healthy cooking.
Although similar to Indian cuisine, Nepalese food tends to be less greasy and oily, and is made with a range of different traditional spices, meaning the curries are perfect for those who like to hit the gym: “If you’re fed up with eating typical curries then come along to Everest Dine and try something different. We guarantee you won’t be disappointed.”
Having won the Leicester Mercury Leicestershire Food Awards twice, the best Indian restaurant in The Best Of awards 2016 and announced as the first runner up in the Leicester Curry Awards 2017 best fine dining category, it’s no wonder that the restaurant’s popularity continues to grow. “We were so happy to be a part of the Curry Awards as it helped us reach a wider audience in the city. Of course we would’ve liked to win, but don’t worry, we will be back next year,” Hari said.
Thinking of heading down to the restaurant? Some signature dishes to try include the chicken lasun khursani and the veg or lamb momos which are so popular, guests often call the restaurant ahead to place their order as they take a minimum of 20 mins to cook.