AUTHENTIC Indian curries are always on the menu at No1 Masala Indian Restaurant & Takeaway.
Shah Ali, aka Woody, has been in the catering industry since leaving school at the age of 16, working in his father’s restaurant in Yorkshire.
Woody and his brother Jay, opened No1 Masala on Coronation Drive four years ago and here, in our latest Business of the Week feature, he tells us how important it is to make every dish from scratch and why loyal customers make return visits, recommending the venue to friends and family.
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No1 Masala opened on Coronation Drive four years ago
What’s the name of business?
No1 Masala Indian Restaurant & Takeaway
What’s the address?
1 Coronation Drive
Just on the A41 by The Village Hotel
Are you the owner/manager?
I am the manager and chef
When did you open the business?
The business has been operating since 2019
Are you local to the area/ did you grow up here?
No, I grew up in a town in Yorkshire well known for famous Asian cuisine, where there is tough competition between so many good restaurants right next door to each other.
The restaurant is a friendly and welcoming place
Tell us a bit about your business
No1 Masala is a family run business which has been established in Bromborough since 2019. The front of house is run by Jay, my brother, and the kitchen is looked after by me – I am the chef and I manage the kitchen alongside other family members. No1 Masala caters for all taste buds from authentic Indian curries to the famous monster kebab. We get customers travelling from surrounding areas – like Ellesmere Port and even far as West Kirby – to try out menu. Our menu is extensive and there’s something for everyone. You’ll be spoilt for choice. We don’t just serve the best curries in Wirral, we do kebabs, burgers, milkshakes and cakes and they’re all popular with our customers. We also have a great kids menu. With No1 Masala being a family-run business, everyone is dedicated to customer satisfaction as well as the consistently high quality of the food. I have worked as a chef in some of the top restaurants in Yorkshire and Manchester and I have years of experience in the industry. I have a real pride and passion for what I do. I was born into a family that ran an Indian restaurant in the early 1980s and I joined when I left school. My passion for cooking started when I was working for my father and he trained me. It was tough at the age of 16 but worth it when you hear the customer reviews of the restaurant. We recently received A Travellers Choice Award for 2023 on TripAdvisor.
How did the Covid-19 pandemic affect you and the business?
I think every business was hit hard. We were about to shut our doors but luckily, being a family-run business, we were all there for each other at the worst times of our lives. We hadn’t experienced anything like so we had to adapt to doing new things and find ways to bring customers in, with discounts and free deliveries. Luckily we did manage to get through it.
What sets your business apart from others in the same area or field?
We serve authentic Indian dishes. All our dishes are made from scratch so customers can adjust the heat levels or add some extras to their meal. It’s always cooked to order. Our most popular dish is the chicken tikka masala, which is the UK’s most popular curry too. It’s one of our best sellers but it’s a bit different from others as ours is creamier not just bright red and sweet. It’s made with our homemade masala sauce, to our very own recipe, which was created by my father. This is where our name No1 Masala comes from. We get new customers on recommendation from friends and family who have visited our restaurant.
All the dishes are made fresh to order
Why do loyal customers return?
We have a loyal customer base of guests who love our food and they’re more like friends than customers.
What’s next? What do the next few months hold for you?
We have just refurbished the interior restaurant dining area over the summer and we are now allowing customers to bring in their own alcohol. This has been a great success for everyone. We have also launched our own app for customers to download, making ordering easier for them. We’re excited to see what 2024 holds for us.