New Indian, French restaurant in Winter Park offers taste of fine dining
Inside the unassuming Namaste India, one of Winter Park’s newest restaurants, is a culinary team that aims for perfection on every plate with a goal of raising the dining scene to award winning levels.
Co-owners Sachin Sawant and Ricky Biswas met while working at Colorado ski resorts, where they shared a passion for high standards when it comes to food and service. Biswas, who trained at French culinary schools and worked under Michelin rated chefs, and Sawant, who previously oversaw catering for Winter Park Resort, felt they would make a good business team.
When the space in the Conoco center off US Highway 40 opened up, Sawant and Biswas decided it was the right opportunity.
“We’ve been planning this for a long time,” Sawant said of opening their own restaurant. “Then the shop was open so everything came together.”
As the name suggests, the restaurant serves authentic Indian food, but also offers traditional French dishes and specialized tasting menus in both cuisines. Namaste India also serves a selection of French and German wines, with many chosen specifically for pairing with menu items.
“There are so many restaurants but none of them are focused on French food and … we wanted to keep our roots, as we both were born in India and grew up there,” Biswas said explaining the restaurant’s choice of menus. “The Indian menu is all authentic, classic Indian food, like how we eat.”
In that vein, everything is made from scratch. Curries simmer for hours and Biswas makes fresh paneer cheese by hand.
That attention to detail comes with even the smallest dishes at Namaste India. Biswas curates a selection of amuse bouche for diners each night, regardless of what they order, to build an upscale experience and introduce customers to a variety of flavors and techniques.
“Whatever is possible for us to do authentically is the main goal,” Sawant said.
For example, naan isn’t on the menu because authentic naan is made in a clay tandoor oven and typically requires a dedicated chef. Instead, customers will find traditional paratha flatbread.
Ultimately, Biswas’ goal is to draw the attention of the James Beard awards and build up a reputation as an unpretentious fine dining experience.
“What I believe and was taught is to try and put perfection on every plate,” Biswas said. “Our goal is to excite people with their food also.”
In the meantime, locals and visitors are taking notice. Since opening on Nov. 8, Sawant said the restaurant has been busy with both take out and in-person dining.
Namaste India is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day except Mondays. Reservations can be made at 970-363-7634.
Where: 78415 US Highway 40, Winter Park
When: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays
More info: namasteindiawp.com or 970-363-7634
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When the Braidwood Condominiums in Winter Park were built in the 1980s, the building lacked hallways wide enough for wheelchairs, walls between units were slim and the fire suppression system couldn’t compare to modern requirements.