Four Friends Kitchen closed its University of Denver location last August, citing difficulties filling positions at the breakfast restaurant. The space, at 2070 South University Boulevard, has sat vacant since then, but a new tenant just took over. This week, Serene Cuisine of India opened, serving traditional Indian cuisine in a modern setting — with a little something new on the menu.
Co-founder Suman Roy says that Serene's menu is not Indian fusion, but primarily Mughlai in origin, so diners will find many familiar preparations, including kormas, biryanis, samosas, rogan josh, and lamb, chicken and seafood cooked in a clay tandoor oven. But there's also something called Mumbai frankies, which Roy describes as grilled meats cooked on skewers and served wrapped in naan. He explains that frankies, similar to gyros or shawarma sandwiches, are famous in their home town, but he doesn't know of any other Denver restaurants serving them. At Serene, you can get your frankie with a choice of five meats or meatless fillings, plus mint and tamarind chutneys, sautéed peppers and onions, fresh tomatoes and sides of raita and masala sauce.
Serene is a family-owned operation; Roy's partners include his wife, Deboshmita Saha, along with his brother, Amarendra Sarma, and Niru Basnet. He explains that the families originally owned a restaurant in India before coming to Colorado, and that he has worked in Denver restaurants for the past fifteen years, including as a line cook at the Ship Tavern at the Brown Palace and also as the tandoori chef at Little India.
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Roy also notes that his goal is to offer a more modern restaurant experience than many other Indian eateries, so ambience, plating and service have all been considered. "We're focusing on the best customer service and food we can offer," he states.
The restaurant will skip the typical lunch buffet in favor of an express lunch, served from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., where guests will have a choice of protein (meat or veg), sauce and appetizer, all for $11 to $14.
Serene Cuisine of India is now open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Call 303-284-6584 or visit the restaurant's website for more details.