IT’S considered the nation’s favourite cuisine – but did you know that most Indian restaurants in the UK are actually owned by Bangladeshis?

When the food first became popular in the 1960s, it was thought that calling it Indian – rather than Bangladeshi – would make it more marketable.

But as much a part of our dining culture as it now is, there are still some restauranteurs who manage to bring something new.

Royal Bengal owner Azim Chowdhury – who is Bangladeshi himself – is one of them.

It’s the third restaurant belonging to Hampshire’s Azim Chowdhury, who also owns Aroma in Holbury and Infusion in Eastleigh – but he’s no relation to previous owner Ashfaqunoor Chowdhury.

As previously reported by the Daily Echo, Ashfaqunoor pleaded guilty to eight charges of food hygiene offences.

But when Azim bought the Coronation Parade restaurant in August, he had no idea of the extent of the problems.

He said: “It’s a good location and the customers are excellent here. I have known a lot of them for a long time as I used to work here. I have made many friends here.

“Then I left to set up my own restaurants and I bought this one in August this year.

“I know the owner, and he unfortunately was in hospital, which is why I think he was finding it difficult to keep on top of things.

"But the council has have inspected my other restaurants – one has a four-star rating and the other five stars.

"We have changed the chairs and tables and bought new kitchen equipment, and brought the menu up to date with traditional and modern dishes.”

As is fitting with the its coastal location, Mr Chowdhury and his two head chefs have come up with a menu that includes lots of sea dishes, like scallops and garlic fried squid, tandoori sea bass and trout and a seafood platter.

But most popular dish to date is a lamb shank – ordered specially from local Eastleigh butchers – and Sundays are family days when children are welcome for a special Sunday buffet.

More unusual dishes come in the form of thengapal duck – in caramelised onion, bell peppers and fennel – or a banquet special of whole leg of ‘kurgee’ lamb, specially marinated in a secret combination of herbs and roasted.

There is a good selection of vegetarian dishes, and the wine menu lists 24 reds and whites, five different champagnes and a selection of classic cocktails.

Desserts include Aroma, New Forest and Scoops ice creams.

Mr Chowdhury describes the cuisines as as comforting as traditional pub food – with a lot more flavour and spice.

There is a full takeaway menu, with 20 per cent discount on collections.