Surjit Gujral, Sydney’s most-loved and iconic Indian restaurant owners who catered for some of world cricket’s biggest stars passed away at the age of 67.
He ran Surjit’s Indian Restaurant on Parramatta Road in Annandale. The restaurant’s webpage notes:
“If you are Indian, an Indian in Australia, spare a thought for the man who opened one of the first Indian restaurants and pioneered authentic North Indian cuisine in Australia. Beloved in the community, dad quickly became known as a jovial man with a very big heart. He sought to entertain everyone who visited his restaurant with his stories, contagious laugh and cheerful spirit.”
Surjit Gujral catered to cricket’s biggest stars and counted Steve Waugh, Shane Warne and Ricky Ponting amongst his friends.
He migrated to Australia from Chandigarh, Punjab, in 1980 and opened his first restaurant in 1985.
In the 1990s, Australian and international cricketers became regulars to Surjit’s restaurant.
Steve Waugh told told the Herald:
“He was an extremely generous guy. I went to his original restaurant in Strathfield many years ago. He became a really good friend from that moment. He always refused to take any money when he hosted. Just a very generous person who loves cricket. He was really well-loved in the cricket community.”
Surjit Gujral also became a long-time supporter and sponsor of the Sydney University Cricket Club which also posted a tribute on its website.
“Surjit was a generous host, a benefactor and passionate about the game. He was a man who will be greatly missed by this club and the broader SUCC community.”
For the SUCC, Surjit Gujral catered for some of the most successful Annual Presentation Nights in the MacLaurin Hall and lunches in conjunction the Blue and Gold at the Football Grandstand facility.
In the late 1990s, the Indian cricket team went to Surjit’s along with coach Bob Simpson.
Surjit Gujral at that time told Herald:
“Sachin said he will be back with his wife and children when he’s next in town. He loves my tandoori prawns. Best he has ever had.”
Remembering his father, Rasandeep Gujral who takes care of the family business told SMH:
“There was a big photo with the headline ‘Sachin Tandoori’ in the paper because Sachin went ballistic over the prawns dad made him.”
Rasandeep Gujral will assume control of the family business and hopes to continue Surjit Gujral’s legacy.