A TRIO of York taxi drivers have stepped out of the cab and into kitchen to open the city’s first restaurant to focus on South Indian cuisine.

The owners of The Coconut Lagoon, which opened in Clarence Street yesterday have teamed up with former Burn Hall chef Saji Kurian, to bring the tastes of the Kerala region of India to the people of York.

Sanjai Joseph, 37, of Rawcliffe, who is originally from the Kerala region, said he was inspired to start the business by his taxi passengers who had visited his homeland and discovered they had a taste for the food.

“This is the first time this food has been served in North Yorkshire,” he said. “People who had been to Kerala were always asking me where they could buy the food in York, so I started looking for a business premises.”

Mr Joseph, who has lived in York for the past eight years, said the Kerala region is also known as the land of coconuts, a fact which inspired the name of the restaurant and the cooking, in particular the masala dosa, a dish which he predicts will become a big favourite in York.

He said: “It will be the first time people in York will have been able to taste this. People are going to love it. There are plenty of fish dishes on the menu too. Our crab curry is the chef’s specialty dish – it’s a real extravagance.”

The Coconut Lagoon opens at 4pm for eat in or take away.