The Story of Mama Masala

In 2004 two young Punjabi guys came to Northern Ireland. Dilbagh made Londonderry his home whilst Gagan 'Pal' Singh Jaidev his cap down and made Glengormley his home. They had a passion, a dream, a vision and most of all they had fire in their bellies!!! They both got straight to work and Dilbagh worked in The White Horse Inn and Pal in The Thunderdome, where he became manager.

They had a dream of one day having their own business.They worked hard, gained valuable experience and made lots of contacts and later friends within the industry with suppliers, designers, staff and, of course customers. So in 2014 they had the opportunity to buy the going concern and original Mama Masala in Londonderry.

Mama Masala was certainly a breath of fresh air in the Londonderry eating scene. It was one of the first Dual cuisine restaurants i.e. Indian and Italian…and I sampled this first hand BFM dines at Mama Masala. This heralded a breakthrough in the Indian Restaurant scene and was instrumental in their future venture. This was also a fantastic learning experience and one in which their combined vision was formulated and refined.

The boys were itching to open up a newer, more specifically designed and personalised restaurant in the greater Belfast area. In 2017 opportunity came their way. The Royal Thai in Glengormley (a favourite of mine) came onto the market and it was duly snapped up in March.

They, along with designer and project manager, Scott Willis Designs, then started to put their thoughts and ideas and dreams and ambitions onto paper. Slowly but surely the last 13 years of ideas, wants, dreams and desires slowly began to take shape and Mama Masala Glengormley was conceived.

They had literally only the exterior skin intact….everything else was ripped out and replaced with new, state of the art services (new gas,electricity and waste), infrastructure, fixtures, fittings, hardware, decorations, heating, lighting and plumbing-in short absolutely everything!!!



Due to the nature of the works the design process had to be fluid and accommodating. SWD really had the finger on the pulse and made sure everything ran smoothly. The slated opening was to be June but had to be pushed back due to complexity. This demonstrates how the proprietor/designer had to be flexible.



As can clearly be seen everything was stripped back to a bare shell and built from scratch. The designer had the confidence to realise the vision exceptionally well.

The goal of the design was to make a dual cuisined, ultra modern Indian and Italian restaurant, using vibrant colours, smart use of natural and modern mood LED lighting, trendy fashionable upholstery, flooring, wall coverings. This would reflect the Indian and Italian genres.


As can be seen from the above the Name logo matches the Londonderry restaurant, the colours are distinctive, the statue of Ganeshji is significant as its auspicious and placed at the entrance and is a sign of a blessing and the Buddha also shows the Indian influence. There is also a lovely collage of spices with the Namaste hand greeting.

In the main restaurant there are several different wall coverings, my favourite being the picture of the Taj in Mumbai. The flooring has also different designs which breaks up the restaurant and is a great design feature when accompanied by the differing wall coverings and seating arrays i.e. free standing Tables (round, square, rectangular) or booths. The mood LED lighting is also very modern and works well.

The VIP opening was on Sunday 9th July and was busy. Alas on the night of 10/11 July, after 1st full day of trading, disaster struck in the shape of deliberate Arson!!!

The public support and rallying around by the community, friends and suppliers soon had the restaurant fixed and cleaned up and back in business. Phoenix had truly risen from the ashes!! The desire, ambition and determination of Pal, Dilbagh and the Mama Masala team was very evident and they have roared back like true Punjabi Lions!! I'm really looking forward to tasting the food!!

Pictures above are from the reopening.

This blog post is a part of Design Blogger Competition organized by CGTrader

#designingforfuture

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3 thoughts on “The Story of Mama Masala

  1. Scott Willis Designs

    Often a testing project at times but greatly eased by having 2 very relaxed & accommodating clients. We at SWD wish both Pal & Dil every success for the future with their new venture & look forward to working with them again … not too far away 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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