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June - July 2004
Balbir Aujala's Mehfil at Three Tuns: Ambience of Mayfair in Southall!
Balbir Aujala and his four friends decided to invest their hard-earned money in a project which, if successful could open new vistas for the residents of Southall, West London. Forming an important part of London Borough of Ealing, Southall is fondly called 'Little India' because of heavy concentration of early immigrants from Punjab to this industrial town. The population today has become more mixed with the influx of asylum seekers from Somalia, Afghanistan and new Eastern Europe. The magnificent Gurdwara in Havlock Street has become the focal point for the regeneration of the 'older part of Southhall, west of the Railway Station.
I met Balbir Aujala, the Managing Director of Three Tuns, an eye-catching complex consisting of a hotel with 31 ensuite bedrooms, a restaurant called MEHFIL (an Urdu word, meaning 'A meeting place for fun, music and dancing'), a Banqueting Hall in the basement for up to 200 people.Balbir came to England at an early age, studied at Aston University, Birmingham; and worked as a Chartered Surveyer with the Borough of Richmond and Three Rivers Authority. His first big venture in property business was in 1998.
The 'Three Tuns' was a popular pub run by Major Singh Birk; and was a favourite meeting place for the young educated Sikhs in the Borough. The pub was taken over by Balbir from Mr. Birk, whose son is a director of the present company. The old pub was demolished and has been rebuilt as a complex of hotel, restaurant and banqueting hall. To keep alive the heritage of Southall, Balbir and his fellow directors have kept the original name of the pub.
Mehfil, situated on the ground floor of the hotel can rightly claim to compete with any Mayfair Indian restaurant in its décor, excellent service and delicious variety of Indian cuisine. Another attractive feature of the MEHFIL is a large car park for 30 to 35 cars within its premises. It will make the Mehfil more popular to people who come to Southall for bargain shopping of Indian designer clothes. The place is bound to become a favourite haunt of yuppies who have now moved to neighbouring towns of prosperous Richmond and Harrow. After all childhood memories are always cherished.