It’s official and all is revealed! We now know which Asian eateries serve up the ultimate curry experience.
The winners of Leicester’s first ever curry awards were celebrated in style in a sparkling gala ceremony held at Athena in the heart of Leicester’s Cultural Quarter last night.
Chutney Ivy in Halford Street was voted Restaurant of the Year, with Bombay Bites on Braunstone clinching the best takeaway award. Fine Dining went to Shimla Pinks and Best New Restaurant to Mumbai Inn. Paddy’s at The Marten Inn won Best Pub Restaurant and the Best Vegetarian Restaurant went to Chai Paani.
In a sell-out event, around 500 guests and VIPs enjoyed a night of music, fun – and of course – amazing food, with a three-course dinner catered by Ragamama Ragasan.
A fabulous lineup of music and dance included musical theatre performer Sally Jones, Sochara Dance, the Dhol Blasters and Leicester’s Got Talent winners Amirah Steel-Bobat and Lydia Unsudimi.
When the awards were first announced last September, nearly 200 local Asian eateries got involved and we asked diners to tell us which of them set the benchmark for curry standards.
With more than 5,500 nominations originally cast, we arrived at five finalists in each of the six categories. We then asked diners to vote again and the response was overwhelming, with thousands of votes cast and the team of VIP judges completing mystery visits to all 30 finalists.
Our spectacular awards night has put restaurateurs in the spotlight for their dedication and hard work in serving not just good, but great, food, in a long-held tradition Leicester has nurtured since the first curry houses were opened in the city nearly 50 years ago.
Winners paid tribute to this first generation of restaurants and the foundations the early pioneers laid for the standards we are achieving today in what are mainly still family-run businesses.
Chutney Ivy’s Shaf Islam said winning the Leicester Curry Awards is the restaurant’s greatest achievement.
“When we set out six and a half years ago this was just a little journey, but we have now been recognised by local peers and Leicester people for all our hard work.
“I would like to thank the older generations who put in such valuable work and also pay tribute to everyone who works in this industry at every level to make it what it is today.”
Not only did they the flag for cuisine, but the Leicester Curry Awards also supported two local charities, Crimestoppers UK and the Rik Basra Leukaemia Campaign. A total of £4,000 was raised, with a proportion of ticket sales split between the two charities and including an auction among guests on the night to raise vital funds for the on-going work of these two vital causes.
Event host, ITV Central News presenter Sameena Ali-Khan, remarked on the awards ceremony being held on St George’s Day – perfectly summing up the cultural diversity that Leicester is renowned for:
“It has been fantastic to be involved and I applaud everyone who has taken part.”
Founder of the Curry Awards, Romail Gulzar, thanked the many who have contributed over the past months, including all the sponsors, the VIP judges and his team at Pukaar News.
“The Leicester Curry Awards aims to bring people from the different cultures we have here in our city and county closer together.
“Good food is a wonderful unifier and I am hugely indebted to all the people who have been involved in making the event a phenomenal success that we hope will make us the nation’s curry capital, as well as a place that has already proved its worth through our culture, history and sport.”
The winners and runners up are:
Restaurant of the Year, sponsored by RB Infinity Investments Ltd
Winner – Chutney Ivy
1st Runner-up – Cuisine of India
2nd Runner-up – Dine India
Best Takeaway, sponsored by Bond Adams LLP
Winner – Bombay Bites
1st Runner-up – Masalas
2nd Runner-up – Curry Royal
Best Pub Restaurant, sponsored by Cobra Beer
Winner – Paddy’s Marten Inn
1st Runner-up – The Indian Chef
2nd Runner-up – The Woolpack
Best Vegetarian Restaurant, sponsored by Anand International
Winner – Chai Paani
1st Runner-up – Sharmilee
2nd Runner-up – Indigo
Best New Restaurant, sponsored by Hayles Chartered Accountants
Winner – Mumbai Inn
1st Runner-up – Saabs Grill
2nd Runner-up – Lahore Village
Best Fine Dining Restaurant, sponsored by DMU Local
Winner – Shimla Pinks
1st Runner-up – Everest Dine
2nd Runner-up – Khyber