Sweet Little Treasures

From Voices, 3:30 pm on 30 November 2015

This is the best Indian restaurant in Hawkes Bay! - Happy patron

Jalebi look like bright orange love hearts within love hearts and kaju kamal look like tiny perfectly formed rock melons covered in silver paper. Pawan's Indian sweets have them queuing at the door!

Indian Sweets, Snacks and Restaurant is the fifth restaurant in the Hawkes Bay region to be owned by Pawan and his family over the last 15 years.  From Punjab in the North of India Pawan Deep Singh came here with his family when he was just 11, without a word of English.

For the Singh family (Pawan's parents and his two older siblings) the early years were tough. In those days there were no Indian restaurants in Hawkes Bay region at all and only three or four Indian families, the Singhs among the first.

When Pawan and his older brother set up their first restaurant in Hastings (The Flavour of India) it was an instant hit. It was so popular that they quickly opened two other restaurants with the same name (one in Napier and one in Waipukarau) and a takeaway in Havelock North.

Still only in their early twenties, Pawan and his brother decided to take a break from hospitality and travel. On Pawan's return to the Bay after his big O.E. experience he decided to work in retail but the call for more of their family's authentic Indian cuisine proved too alluring.

This time it was Pawan and his wife who decided to make their new restaurant different by focusing on the food that wasn't sold in Hawkes Bay; the traditional milk-based Indian sweets, snacks and a great variety of traditional street-food popular back home in India.

Pawan sought the assistance of two Indian sweet chefs but the rapid rise in the Indian population has increased the demand exponentially. Now their hand-made traditional treasures are so popular they have the Hawkes Bay Indian community queuing at the door until they sell-out! They often have to prepare two weeks ahead to meet the demand during festivals like Diwali.

If you're ever in Hastings and you're not sure where to find Pawan's Indian Sweets, Snacks and Restaurant you only have to ask an Indian who lives locally or head north along the main road of the town, Heretaunga Street. And by the way - the energised Bangra and Bollywood music from Punjab that plays in the background, that's part of what makes this restaurant so popular with the 1500 or so Sikhs now living in the Bay too.