Monday, 10 March 2008

Indian food producer to open restaurant in market town

PLANNING permission has now been granted for award-winning Indian food producer Mignon Johnson to convert empty offices to a restaurant in Wiveliscombe.
The restaurant in Silver Street will be branded Moorkhana, which is the trading name of The Saffron Kitchen range of meals currently produced from Mignon’s home in Lydeard St Lawrence.
Work on converting the premises is due to start in the next few days and the restaurant is likely to be open by the beginning of May.
A special telephone number has been provided to local residents while the work is ongoing in case they need to raise any issues.
Mignon and her husband Andrew have already taken on some staff, but are still looking for more employees, especially kitchen assistants, cleaning staff, and waiting staff, whom they hope will be people who live locally.
The couple are keen to support the Wiveliscombe economy through generating new jobs, continuing to source local produce wherever possible, and bringing more visitors to the town
Samples of the food which can be eaten in the Moorkhana restaurant will be available at the Milverton Street Fair on bank holiday Monday, May 5, which Mignon and Andrew will be attending.
Moorkhana has recently also been awarded five stars under Taunton Deane Borough Council’s ‘scores on the doors’ scheme of inspecting food businesses, which means it is rated as having an ‘excellent level of compliance’ and being ‘highly confident in management of food safety’.
Mignon, who is an Indian national, said: “The Moorkhana restaurant is going to be very different from the type of Indian restaurant people have become used to in this country.
“All of our meals use family recipes which we cook ourselves and that means we will have a select menu and not the seemingly endless choices you find in some restaurants.
“It may surprise some people, for instance, to learn that there is no such dish as chicken tikka masala in India - it is something that has been created over here to suit English tastes.
“As well as serving authentic food just like you would find in India, we hope to educate customers about what they are eating to increase their enjoyment of the food and add value to their restaurant experience.
“Our market research shows we are likely to attract people from a large area of Somerset, so it means there are opportunities for other Wiveliscombe businesses to also benefit.”
Moorkhana will be a family-friendly restaurant where children will be welcome, and it also has a function room which can be used by local organisations. Customers will also be able to order takeaway dishes.
Moorkhana has built its reputation over the past few years by regularly attending farmers’ markets in Taunton, Wellington, Cotford St Luke, Minehead, Exeter, Crewkerne, and Glastonbury, and more recently by supplying select delicatessens.
Anybody who would like to work in the Moorkhana restaurant should contact Mignon and Andrew Johnson by telephoning 01984 656931 or emailing to
More information about Moorkhana and its range of Indian foods is available by visiting the websites and

  • Our photograph shows Mignon and Andrew Johnson outside the offices they plan to convert into an Indian restaurant. Photo submitted.

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