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Clay's Celebrates 5 Years

Yesterday marked five years of Clay's. We were busy serving 160 people on Father's Day, our highest ever, and we did not realise we had turned 5! Four of our closest friends and families ended up at our restaurant to celebrate Father's Day and one of their 18th anniversaries. My Mom and Dad are visiting from India, and we all sat together at the end of service for many hours. We ate, drank, and then there was some music and dancing. It couldn’t have been any better. All of this while completely oblivious to the fact that Clay’s turned 5! Maybe that’s how every milestone should be celebrated.

Five years ago, on the 18th of June, we sold our first pint and our first-ever Bhuna Venison. I couldn’t help going back and checking our bookings back then. We were doing anywhere from 15 to 30 covers daily in the first few weeks, and I remember being overwhelmed by that! If I see 30 covers now, I think of taking a day off. We have grown so much over the last five years. From a smaller location to a larger one, from a local presence to a nationwide one through our Clay’s at Home service, and from a small team to a much larger one that I have come to adore. We have also grown our customer base, which we like to think of as our extended family.

I am so grateful for the support of so many people over the past five years. We have been loved and supported by our loyal customers, who have become our well-wishers. We have been reviewed and mentioned in almost all the major national press - Observer, Guardian, Daily Mail, Telegraph, The Week and Delicious Magazine along with some reputable food bloggers like our very own Explore Reading & Edible Reading, Cardiff and Bristols ThePlateLickedClean and Kaveyeats.

Many more people have helped us along the way, including Neil Devy, who has been a champion of our food, Matt Inwood, who brings to life our food through his lenses and who has a great calming effect on me, Dan Smith, who helped design our new place in Caversham, all our suppliers who continue to give us the best and more importantly, all the team members for the past five years without whom we would not have been able to achieve any of this.

There is one more person I have to talk about. Sharat, who has been my absolute rock, standing beside me through all the craziness, taking in patiently all the extra work I keep throwing at him, all the while still having the energy to take care of me. Being a couple, working together 24/7 for five years is hard to imagine, but he makes it not just possible but actually enjoyable. None of this would have been remotely achievable without him.

Yes, I am taking these five years as an achievement because, apart from the first year of establishment (which in itself is a struggle for any new business), we have been hit with everything that could go wrong, from the pandemic, Brexit, war, inflation, staffing issues and many more. We have been fighting, adapting and evolving, all the while never compromising on what we stand for, and we will continue doing that. We know the worst is still to come, and you know by now that we can give a good fight.

Let’s see what else we can do by the time we turn six.

Thank you for being a part of Clay’s family.


Nandana ❤

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