Bold Street's Indian street food concept in £3.45m private equity deal

IT started in Bold Street when a Wirral-based barrister who liked to share complete curry recipes in single tweets, turned her back on the Bar.

Nisha Katona opened Mowgli, a family affair, aided by a living inheritance from her mum, Meena, in October 2014. 

Taking inspiration from the street vendors of India, the look (by Richard Eastwood) and modern USP (healthy, light, flavoursome dishes using recipes passed down from Katona’s family), all pointed to a star on the rise. Yet, with the auspices in place, it was a nervous Katona who told Liverpool Confidential on opening night:  “All I am arsed about is the food.”

The “curry evangelist”, who grew a dedicated following on social media, can now afford to express her ideas in rather more than 140 characters and Ma Meena's leap of faith has paid off. 

Today it was announced that Mowgli Street Food will be rolled out in high streets across the UK after winning £3.45m of private equity funding.

Nisha Katona By Angie Sammons
Nisha Katona Pic by Angie Sammons

Already there are three branches (a second Mowgli opened in Water Street last year and there is one in Manchester). The £6m turnover company currently employs 120 staff but by the end of the year the troops of tiffin bearers will have increased dramatically with openings in Birmingham (September) and Leeds (OctoberNovember).

Investment comes from private equity firm Foresight and Mowgli’s expansion will happen under the seasoned eye of Matthew Peck, chief money honcho from Byron Burgers, and Karen Jones, the woman who founded Cafe Rouge and current chairman of upmarket steakhouse chain Hawksmoor. They have come on board as finance director and chairman respectively.

The original Mowgli in Bold Street opened less than three years ago

Katona, who these days is to be regularly spotted on daytime TV programmes such as Sunday Brunch and Lorraine, said: “I feel passionately about offering healthy, authentic Indian Street food to the market. Foresight’s expertise in growing businesses, alongside our recently appointed new recruits, will allow us to expand into new geographies without compromising the quality of our offering.”

Claire Alvarez, senior investment manager for Foresight, said: “Our investment into the Mowgli Street Food chain is tremendously exciting; the business is illustrative of the continuous innovation and entrepreneurial culture that is prevalent in the North West.

“The company is full of potential and we look forward to supporting Nisha in realising her vision for Mowgli Street Food to become the leading voice for Indian Street Food across the UK.”