Mowgli founder Nisha Katona has decided to take to take her Indian street food concept to London and is in negotiations on a site in Soho, MCA has learnt.

Katona, who secured £3.45m of funding from private equity group Foresight Group earlier this year, also identified Sheffield, Nottingham, Cardiff, Bath, Bristol, Brighton and a second site in Manchester is key targets for 2019-2020.

Liverpool-based Mowgli, which currently has three sites, opens in Birmingham next week, Oxford in the New Year and Leeds in the Spring.

On venturing south for the first time, Katona told MCA: “I’ve had to think really hard about it, about whether I restrain myself to the North, where commercially it’s a much easier gig.

“But if I want to take this brand nationally, and I’m very evangelical about that, there are some bullets I have to bite, and one of those is southern rent.

“It’s a fresh landscape. There are new challenges. All I know is I want to take the food national.”

She said Soho and the West End was the preferred area due to its reputation for restaurants.

Katona said it was frustrating being compared to other Indian street food operators in London, and the implication there was only a finite space for Indian restaurants.

She added: “We’re constantly compared to London street food, it’s a bit quasi racist. Are we so small minded we think there isn’t room for a number of really good Indian restaurants across the nation? You wouldn’t say it about any other genre of food.”