Winners of the prestigious Asian Restaurant Awards were revealed at a glittering awards ceremony at the Manchester Mercure Piccadilly, on Tuesday 31st August, hosted by BBC news anchor Samantha Simmonds.
Top accolades went to:
Asma Khan’s whose female-only kitchen of former home cooks at London’s Darjeeling Express, won Best Casual Dining Restaurant
Rajesh Suri, owner of Grand Trunk Road, who led Tamarind to the first Indian restaurant in the UK to a Michelin Star, won Best Asian Restaurant (London).
Grand Trunk Road’s and Tamarin’s former head chef Dayashankar Sharma received the Best Newcomer award for his Heritage Dulwich debutant.
“India’s answer to Heston Blumenthal”, Stephen Gomes, collected the award for Best Fusion Restaurant for DUSK in Brentwood, Essex for his “spectacular” molecular gastronomy.
Special Just East regional accolades for Best Takeaway went to Stopsley Sturma in Luton and Achaari in Macclesfield.
Xiang Yang Liu chef at Panda Mami,with branches in Chester, York and Manchester, was awarded for the Best Asian Fusion Buffet.
There were also special prizes for Shabit Hussain of the Akbar Group (Curry King), a Lifetime Achievement Award for the Aagrah Group’s Mohammed Aslam, and Community Hero Awards for Mohamed Shajad Khan of Blue Tiffin in Oldham and Mahi Masum.
The full list of regional awards winners can be viewed at www.asianrestaurantawards.org
Addressing the Asian Catering Federation’s (ACF) first awards ceremony with a live audience since 2019, its Chairman Yawar Khan, acknowledged the Asian hospitality sector’s resilience, innovation and generosity in the face of a global pandemic.
He said that in order to survive, some Michelin-starred fine dining Indian restaurants began offering takeaways for the very first time. Others sold finish-at-home meal kits, containing pre measured ingredients and recipe instructions. Another operated pop-up delivery kitchens, based in locked-down pubs.
He warned that despite the general reopening since lockdown, that restaurants face more adversity in the form of rising prices and worsening staff shortages.
“Compete on quality not price and train and reward your loyal, hardworking staff well – because if you don’t, someone else will,” said Khan.
The evening was attended by 500 leading restaurateurs, chefs, food writers and VIP guests.