SOUTH Indian restaurant, Elai, is still open in Salisbury, despite ongoing works outside making access problematic.

Co-owners of Elai, Nidhin Satheesan, and Unni Bala, first opened Elai Basingstoke in June 2022 after 20-year careers in hospitality.

The pair opened Salisbury's branch in the former Boathouse restaurant in June 2023.

The location of the restaurant, along the River Avon, is proving to be problematic in recent weeks, due to the ongoing river park project.

SEE ALSO: Historic England address condition of Old Sarum Hangar

Nidhin told the Journal: "We knew about the works before we moved in, and they have been ongoing for almost a year, but the last two weeks things have got worse.

"It has completely shut down the entrance to our restaurant, there is no access by coach anymore, no access for driving in at all, even deliveries can't get there.

Salisbury Journal: Unni Bala and Nidhin Satheesan inside Elai Basingstoke.Unni Bala and Nidhin Satheesan inside Elai Basingstoke. (Image: James Marley)

Review: Unique flavours at the new south Indian restaurant that replaced Boathouse

"This means that people can only access on foot, which is difficult for elderly visitors."

Speaking about recent business, Mr Satheesan said: "January is always a dull month in hospitality, but this has been especially dull, we've had lots of cancellations.

"We just want to let people know that we're still open from 12pm to 10pm every day, and we don't close between those times.

"We're unique as we are a South Indian restaurant, our cooking technique, the spices we use are very different from the other Indian restaurants in Salisbury.

"We use fresh ingredients, our fish comes from a market in London."

Mr Satheesan explained how he appreciates his regular customers but feels that many are unaware that Elai is still open: "A lot of people still visit because of word of mouth, which is a good sign, but because of the ongoing work maybe people don't realise we are still open."

Salisbury Journal: The path to ElaiThe path to Elai (Image: Newsquest)

He also told the Journal about the hardships of running an independent business: "We still have bills to pay, gas, electricity, and being an independent business it is more difficult than if we were a big chain.

"Unfortunately insurance doesn't cover loss of custom because of roadworks, so we need to do what we can to spread the word that we are still open for business as usual."

SEE ALSO: I tried 'the best pizza in Salisbury' and this is what I thought

Recently, the only other business in the area, Selfie Pizza, moved premises into the former Cornish Bakery shop on Silver Street.

Nidhin said: "We're a lonely business now that they [Selfie Pizza] have moved on.

"These works are likely to go on for another two to three months so this could affect our business. The main thing to say is we are still open."