Dishoom in Edinburgh picked up the ‘Best in Scotland’ award

The UK’s favourite curry restaurants, as nominated for by the British Public, were announced at the trailblazing and foremost celebration of the industry, British Curry Awards in association with Just Eat, as it returned for its 17th year after the pandemic challenges.

The finest curry restaurateurs from across the UK descended on the Capital in the hope of being recognised as the best restaurant in their region and honoured with a jewel in the crown of the UK curry restaurant industry award sector at the prestigious ceremony that took place on Monday 29th November at Battersea Evolution.

Fondly known as the ‘Curry Oscars’, British Curry Awards once again welcomed in person prominent personalities from the worlds of politics, sport, showbiz and entertainment alongside celebrity chefs and curry restaurant owners and their staff from across the country.

In attendance were: Cricketer, Azeem Rafiq; Love Island contestant, Priya Gopaldas, model, Danielle Mason;  former The Apprentice winner, Sian Gabbidon; TV presenters, Melinda Messenger, Lizzie Cundy, Faye Barker, Hayley Sparkes and Hayley Palmer; radio presenter, James Whale; television GP, Dr Amir Khan;  filmmaker, actor and presenter, Mistah Islah; music artists, Patti Boulaye and Mr Fabulous; President of Restaurant Association, Robert Walton MBE; MP’s, Chris Grayling, Foysol Choudhury; RuPaul’s Drag Race UK’s Baga Chipz; and Reality TV personality, Robbie McMahon among others.

Celebrities attended the 17th annual awards ceremony, including Love Island’s Priya Gopaldas

The ceremony was hosted by actor and comedian, Omid Djalili. Bollywood star, Abhishek Bachchan, joined virtually to present the award for the Best Restaurant West Midlands category.

As the foremost and pioneering celebration of the UK curry industry’s achievements and the best restaurants across all regions, with awards deemed the most prized badge of honour across the entire industry for winning restaurants, British Curry Awards has established itself as a national institution.

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.

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.

Gary Cockerill, Enam Ali MBE, Phil Turner

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.

“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.”

Andrew Kenny, UK Managing Director, Just Eat says, “It’s a great honour to once again be sponsoring the British Curry Awards. After an incredibly challenging 18 months, there’s never been a better time to recognise the resilient and hard-working individuals within the restaurant and takeaway sector.

“Despite the many obstacles faced, from shortages in the supply chain to difficulty in recruiting skilled workers, restaurants have risen to the occasion and delivered customers a taste of normality when they needed it the most. We want to ensure that takeaway restaurants – especially in this sector which contributes so much to British culture – don’t just survive, but thrive, in today’s challenging economic climate.”

Curry Awards 2021 Winners

Best Restaurant Scotland: Dishoom, Edinburgh
Best Restaurant North East: Mumtaz Restaurant, Bradford
Best Restaurant North West: Asha’s, Manchester
Best Restaurant East Midlands: Montaz Newmarket, Newmarket
Best Restaurant West Midlands: Pushkar Restaurant, Birmingham
Best Restaurant Wales: Purple Poppadom, Cardiff
Best Restaurant South East: Chez Mumtaz, St Albans
Best Restaurant South West: Prithvi Restaurant, Cheltenham
Best Restaurant London Central & City: Benares, Mayfair
Best Restaurant London – Outer & Suburbs: Shampan Bromley, Bromley
Best Newcomer: Mathura Restaurant, London
Best Delivery Restaurant/Takeaway: Maliks Express Kitchen, Gerrards Cross
Most Innovative Restaurant Concept: Khai Khai Indian Restaurant, Newcastle Upon Tyne