I visited new Sutton Coldfield café so popular it had to shut for days to restock and hire more staff

An ailing takeaway site in Sutton Coldfield has been revived and given a new lease of life after its owner spotted a gap in the market in the town for sweet and savoury treats from the sub-continent. Arjun Nijjar, who is just 20, realised Sutton had a big Punjabi population.

But if they wanted to Indian street food or desserts, the latter often handed out at weddings and events, locals had to travel to the Black Country or inner city Birmingham. So Arjun, along with his brother, Rajun, and uncle Gurupeet ‘Steve’ Garcha started the Sutton Sweet Centre.

The trio have transformed the former Mere Green Chippy in Hill Village Road into the new Indian café. And the proof of Arjun’s hunch of a ‘demand in the area’ was proven when the family opened for the first time on Sunday, May 5, with ‘queues down the road’.

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They sold out of their stock. The opening was on the May Day Bank Holiday weekend – and the following day, Bank Holiday Monday, May 6, was equally as busy. They hurriedly restocked and got ready, but demand was fierce and their stock all went again.

Arjun said: “We didn’t expect so much demand. In the first day we sold out of three days of stock. And the same the next day. So we needed to reorganise.”

So it was time for a rethink and the famly closed for three days, hired more staff, and at least knew that this time when they opened, last Saturday, May 11, they would be busy! So what is the Indian Sutton Sweet Centre? And why have people been queuing to get a taste of what it has to offer?

As Arjun predicted, there was a market for Desi breakfasts, authentic Indian street food, a range of chai teas and spiced coffees, milkshakes and a range of Indian soft drinks Thums Up (cola), Slice (still orange) and Limca (lime and lemonade) or Fanta, Sprite, Coke and Red Bull, juices and water too.

There’s a breakfast menu from 9am until 1pm – but I’d just missed that on my arrival. It’s a range of parathas – Indian flatbreads in plain, gobi (cauliflower stuffed), mooli (with radish), aloo (spiced potato) and keema (spicy mince) varieties. They are all served with butter, yoghurt and achaar, a south Asian pickle. While I didn’t partake – another customer told me the plain paratha he had was ‘banging’

I looked at the street food menu, aka the lunch menu, – and while some items were familiar – samosas, onion bhajis, paneer spring rolls, and pakoras – fritters. Some were not – like Chole Bbhature and Dahi Wale Gol Gappe.

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I asked Gurupeet and he recommended the Chole Bhature – deep fried rotis – two flat breads, with chickpea curry and a pickled onion accompaniment that helps cut through the carbs and give the dish a lift. It was £6.99.

As it was my first visit and in order to give the reader more of a take on the place and not just my view on one dish, I also ordered two samosas at £2.50 for both. It was a mistake though, which I’ll come to in a moment.

Chole Bhature is popular in northern India, with fried flat breads used to mop up chickpea curry – this one with a kick of chilli – but not too overpowering. And it was plenty. I had no need to order the samosas.

But I gave them a go, and the potato and pea filling with a hint of spice was a tasty morsel – and would make a perfect snack for the less hungry. But I had to give in and take the second one home. I also ordered a Masala Chai (£3.25) – a sweetened tea with a hint of spice – a perfect drink to balance the chilli-kick of the main dish. There's Karak and Pink Chai too

As I had gone inside the Sutton Sweet Centre, just after 1pm on a Monday, it was empty. But as I sat down after placing my order and then ate, while also trying to catch a moment with Arjun to find out how things were going, I saw a steady stream of customers.

People commented they usually had to go to Wolverhampton, Walsall, West Bromwich or inner-city Birmingham for this sort of food. Food some had grown up with and missed. Couples, families and groups came in – some used the booths. Others waited for take aways.

Arjun said it was the first day when he had not been really pressed serving those coming in. But the hunch he had before opening seemed to be proven true. The food was tasty and filling. The Mere Green chippy given a new life.

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But what of the desserts that gave the venue its name? Well there was no chance I could eat any more, so I bought a selection and took them home ‘to share’.

The Indian ‘sweets’ were small sugary morsels – sometimes given as gifts, but also perfect for those wanting a treat with a tea or to finish their meal of with tasty treat.

The range included Badam Burfi, made with ground almond paste, sugar and ghee, Besan with gram flour, like an Indian orangey fudge, ghee and flavoured with cardamom, Cream Gulab Jamun, fried doughnuts with syrup and cream, Milk cake, a striking pink rose variety, ChumChum - made from chickpeas and Jalebi – bright orange deep fried batter soaked in sugar syrup.

Each was 75p – and they are small – but sweet, so you don’t need a lot to satisfy any sugary craving. Some with a nutty flavourings, others with a hint of spice – but all giving the sweet centre its name.

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The venue has started with a small street food menu and has also started to do curries. In time it also hopes to offer a dinner menu and open longer hours.

Asked how the opening had gone Arjun said: “It was stressful. But everyone likes the food. We will be adapting the menu as we go. We are open 9am to 7pm Monday to Sunday. We will open until 9.30pm weekdays and until 11pm at weekends when we are ready.

“We don’t want to disappoint anyone or rush anything. It’s step-by-step. The main importance is keeping customers happy and quality high.”

The Sutton Sweet Centre has opened, and will soon be joined over the road by the Wilton Patisserie, selling Cypriot-style cakes and treats. The sweet-toothed of Sutton will be spoilt. But if spice is also your thing – give it a try.