Manchester restaurant, Asha’s, on Peter Street, last night won the Best Restaurant in North West award at the trailblazing and foremost celebration of the UK curry industry – British Curry Awards (the ‘Curry Oscars’).
The event took place at Battersea Evolution, London, attended by the UK’s finest curry restaurateurs and their staff from across the UK; MP’s; and personalties from the worlds of showbiz and entertainment.
A nationwide nominations process to honour the nation’s top curry houses is led by the local patrons of curry houses on the streets of Britain, annually invited to nominate their favourite Asian restaurants and takeaways. The process of public nominations creates an authentic list of the nation’s favourite Asian eateries, based on the opinions of the public, leading to a rigorous vetting process by an independent panel of judges.
This year’s ceremony had particular significance, given the challenges faced by the industry over the past 18 months of the pandemic, and acknowledged the industry’s spirit and resilience through difficult business and personal circumstances. The industry has seen many leaders, pioneers, restaurateurs and staff tragically lose their lives to Covid. This year’s ceremony paid tribute to those that have passed away.
Additionally, operational issues such as supply chain and staff shortages and the knock-on effect of multiple lockdowns has had a lasting impact on business. Nevertheless, the entrepreneurial spirit and strong will of the UK curry community continues to work tirelessly to serve customers and diners across the UK with the nation’s favourite dish.
British Curry Awards Founder, Enam Ali MBE, is the UK’s leading spokesperson for the curry industry and has been promoting it globally for the past 45 years. Speaking at the event, he said, “What a year we have had – full of highs and lows as we have come out of the pandemic and had to try and rebuild our businesses after lockdowns. The support of our customers has been incredible but the challenges are still significant.
At the British Curry Awards we have always stood up for the causes that matter to the industry. We are all now benefitting from the so-called vindaloo visa which has helped address the chef shortage problem. We will always fight your corner. And the Government does listen to us.
This year we have received many reports that restaurants that had got high, four or five stars ‘scores on the doors’ in the past from local environmental health officers have been getting marked down to only one or two stars. It seems from the reports we are getting that, often, restaurants are being marked down for fairly minor, technical infringements. Even though these can often be quickly rectified they are having to wait up to six months to be reassessed. This is unfair and is putting many already struggling businesses as they come out of the pandemic on the verge of closure.
What we are asking for is the government to require local authorities to have a much faster appeal and recertification process, so that those marked down can be reassessed in 4-6 weeks, not 4-6 months. Otherwise we will not be able to play our part in the recovery of our high streets, as this inflexible process will prove the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”
Best Restaurant Scotland: Dishoom, 3A St Andrew Square, Edinburgh EH2 2BD
Best Restaurant North East: Mumtaz Restaurant, 386-410 Great Horton Road, Bradford BD7 3HS
Best Restaurant North West: Asha’s, 47 Peter Street, Manchester M2 3NG
Best Restaurant East Midlands: Montaz Newmarket, 30 Old Station Road, Newmarket CB8 8DN
Best Restaurant West Midlands: Pushkar Restaurant, 245 Broad Street, Birmingham B1 2HQ
Best Restaurant Wales: Purple Poppadom, 185a Cowbridge Road East, Cardiff CF11 9AJ
Best Restaurant South East: Chez Mumtaz, Centurian House 136-142 London Road, St Albans AL1 1PQ
Best Restaurant South West: Prithvi Restaurant, 37 Bath Road, Cheltenham GL53 7HG
Best Restaurant London Central & City: Benares, 12a Berkeley Square, Mayfair W1J 6BS
Best Restaurant London – Outer & Suburbs: Shampan Bromley, 38 Chatterton Road, Bromley BR2 9QN
Best Newcomer: Mathura Restaurant, 4 Greycoat Place, London SW1P 1SB
Best Delivery Restaurant/Takeaway: Maliks Express Kitchen, Shop 5, Marsham Way, Gerrards Cross SL9 8AB
Most Innovative Restaurant Concept: Khai Khai Indian Restaurant, 29 Queen Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 3UG