WHEN Harry Khinda decided to open a craft beer and street food venue, he wanted a name that people would remember.

“We wanted to be different and off-centre, so someone mentioned Bhaji Smugglers. Now, I’m all for having a laugh, but this was taking it a bit too far,” laughs Harry. “The words Crafty and Indian were dotted on a chalk board for name ideas, one day I decided to put the two together. I placed them under our concept logo and we immediately knew what the name of the new venue would be.

“The word ‘Crafty’ has a double meaning - firstly, doing things differently and secondly, a reference to craft beer. The word ‘Indian’ refers to the food. Indian food and beer, who would ever have thought of that?”

The Shipley venue - the Telegraph & Argus Pub of the Week - is on the site of Harry’s former restaurant, Zaara’s.

“It was a traditional Indian restaurant typical of many others,” says Harry. “In 2018 we decided to be bold and make major changes. We developed a fun, funky concept for a street food and craft beer venue. After a re-fit, The Crafty Indian opened in November 2019.”

Bright, fun and cosy , the bar has four craft beer taps and fridges stocked with beers from around the UK and Europe, and it serves a range of Indian food but, says Harry, “not the typical anglicised version”.

“I was fed up with serving tikka masalas and kormas. The idea behind The Crafty Indian was to be bold and different, so when it came to the menu, it was totally radicalised,” he says. “We replaced typical Indian fare with eight starters and eight mains, cooked to perfection. It’s as close to what you’d expect if you dined in an Indian home; traditional recipes, no food colouring or preservatives and no heavy oil or ghee. Good quality hearty food, cooked with lots of love. We’re a family business and we all cook and share ideas. One major difference is that our meat and poultry is reared and supplied to us by Yorkshire farms using traditional Yorkshire methods.”

Not long after The Crafty Indian opened, the pandemic hit. “Timing is not my strong point,” smiles Harry. “In 2007 I opened Zaara’s and shortly after we had the worst financial crisis in decades. In 2019 I rebranded the business then the world was hit with the worst pandemic in 100 years! In between, there was the recession, credit crisis and Brexit. What can I say? We are still here and each challenge makes us stronger. We will be here next year and the year after that.”

He adds: “Like many other venues, we introduced take-away and deliveries in lockdown in the hope that some normality would return soon, which it eventually did. After re-opening it started off slow as, but gradually over spring and summer it started getting busier. We’re not back to pre-Covid levels yet but we’re getting there.”

This week The Crafty Indian restau.rant is getting into the Halloween spirit with a fun night. The bar will be decorated in ghoulish style for the Crafty Creeps Halloween Spooktacular on Thursday. Ghostly goings-on start with family fun at 5pm, food served from 5.30pm, then a spicier sitting for adults from 7.30pm with craft beer tasting sessions and food.

As the lights go down, a monster buffet includes vegan pumpkin and ‘vampire chicken tikka masala’, scarily spicy starters, monstrous mains, rice and naan bread. Diners are invited to wear fancy dress, with prizes for the creepiest costume. The bar will be open all evening, for a ‘Hoppy Halloween’.

The bar has a relaxed vibe, for a night out or coffee and a catch-up. “We encourage people to for a beer or coffee, even if they don’t want food,” says Harry. “Many regulars use it as a place to meet up, eat, drink and chat.

“The hospitality sector is all about the experience and I love to see customers point out what they enjoyed most about their experience with us. It could be the smell of fresh coffee being roasted, wonderful aromas from the kitchen, the array of craft beers, our great gin selection, the vibrant music and the young, enthusiastic staff that make our venue so amazing.”

Harry and his team raise funds for the Railway Children charity, which helps feed children in Third World countries. “We promote the use of stainless steel tiffins instead of plastic containers for take-away food. We sell the tiffins at reasonable cost and when customers re-use them they get 10per cent off their order. We believe amazing food need not cost the earth.”

* The Crafty Indian, Bradford Road, Shipley. Call (01274) 588114 or visit thecraftyindian.com

Tickets for the Halloween event are available from the bar, on Facebook at fb.me/e/1aTHfSzlW or eventbrite.co.uk/e/crafty-creeps-night-of-family-fun-tickets-186673113307

Adult event: eventbrite.co.uk/e/crafty-creeps-night-of-food-beer-and-fun-tickets-186597436957