A young restaurateur who has achieved his dream of opening his own curry house is aiming to bring more people into Whitley Bay with his unique combination of curry and cocktails.
Kamrul Hussain (Kami), opened Shampan on Whitley Road after working more than 20 years in family restaurants in the North East, Liverpool and London. He started in his uncle’s Sheba Tandoori takeaway – the first takeaway in Whitley Bay – at the age of 14 and now at 35 he’s brought all his experience together to open Shampan.
Kami arrived in the UK from Bangladesh at the age of 11 with his family unable to speak English. He quickly adapted to the new country and culture but true to his roots, he’s named his restaurant after a type of Bangladeshi boat.
Shampan, which is open seven nights a week, is one of the biggest restaurants in Whitley Bay and has created 14 jobs. Staff are uniformed and customer service is top of the agenda. The restaurant, which was previously “The Old Pane Vino Italian Restaurant”, has been completely refurbished to offer a contemporary interior that seat 100 people. There are large tables for celebrations and intimate booths for couples that want to dine privately.
But Shampan is not just about authentic Indian cuisine; it’s also a destination for cocktails. Rather than the usual waiting area, Kami has created a stunning cocktail lounge where people can come for a drink before dinner or simply relax for an evening of cocktails.
He said: “I’m really keen to attract more people into Whitley Bay but there isn’t really anything for adults in the town who want to go for a relaxing drink without loud music playing.
“We’re seeing lots of couples coming in to sample our delicious cocktail menu, which includes the house special Shampan Cocktail – a mix of Malibu, rum, passion fruit, mango and pineapple juice. We also have a great selection on non-alcoholic cocktails too.”
Kami owned the Spice Bag takeaway in Whitley Bay before opening Shampan. The restaurant brings together his 20 years’ experience in the industry in a menu that’s packed with classic Indian dishes and chefs’ specials, including the signature Bangladeshi Shampan Handi lamb, or staff curry – a delicious dish of lamb on the bone slowly cooked over two hours with onions, garlic, ginger and a secret mix of spices.
Kami said: “Opening Shampan wasn’t just about me achieving my dream, it’s about Whitley Bay and bringing people into the town.
“We’ve already had diners from across the North East, visitors from Scotland and we’re building up a great group of regulars, both in the restaurant and the cocktail lounge.
“We’re offering the best Indian cuisine, with a menu lovingly created with authentic flavours from the rich culinary heritage of the Indian subcontinent. We’re catering for everyone – whether you want a lounge table for a few bottles of bubbly, fabulous cocktails and sharing platters, or want to reserve a table for a business lunch or family get together.
“We’ve worked hard to get Shampan right and turn it into a real destination restaurant with a buzzing atmosphere.”