An ambitious restaurant owner has praised Harrow Council for helping him achieve a five-star rating.

Nikil Samani, owner of BNOVA Restaurant & Bar in Honeypot Lane, Stanmore said his sole objective was to raise his business’s standard to the highest level.

Mr Samani said the restaurant was operating at a less than perfect rating when he took it over in December 2017.

Keen to turn things around, the 33-year-old called on Harrow Council to retrain his staff and himself in the ways of the consummate restaurateur.

Within six months, BNOVA leapt from a borderline three-star venue to a streamlined five-star fine dining experience.

Mr Samani said: “Having an Indian restaurant was basically just a hobby that became an ambition - a place I could walk into and call my own.

“I have a business partner and we have manager and head chef who are very involved, obviously, but we do more the background side of things.

“I took over this restaurant in December 2017 and I didn’t realise you take on the rating too, which at the time was four-star.

“We had an inspection in August and discovered we were in fact closer to a three-star, so I approached Harrow Council saying I really wanted to get us up to a five-star rating. They suggested the staff and myself go on their training scheme.

“We went on a level three food hygiene training course, working closely with the council to produce a new allergen chart and finally we got there.

“We also spent quite a bit of money getting the restaurant and food to the quality and standard it should be.

“This took extreme hard work and it’s something we are very proud of and a lot of thanks goes out to my staff. I am pretty sure not many Indian restaurants in the area have this rating and we felt it is something that should be recognised.”

Mr Samani added BNOVA was still very much a “traditional” Indian restaurant but that his staff also did a range of cocktails “very well”.

Adding: “We do a great vegetable dish using jackfruit, very unusual, you might not find this type of thing nearby. Our chef is constantly creating new specials.”

When asked about his favourite dishes, Mr Samani said: “Well I’m a carnivore so if I had to pick a starter from my menu I’d go for salt and pepper prawns, followed by a lamb rogan josh curry and for dessert something interesting like kulfi or maybe a gulab jamun cheesecake.”