(l-r) Mohammed Rafiq, Azhar Mahmood and Max Rahman from Kiplings Restaurant

A Calderdale curry house is celebrating after scooping a prestigious national award.

Kiplings, Town Hall Street, Sowerby Bridge, has been named ‘Best Indian Establishment’ at the Food Awards England 2022.

Owner Mohammed Rafiq and a team of his staff firstly found out they’d won the ‘Northern’ region award when they attended the glittering awards ceremony at Manchester’s Mercure Hotel.

But at the end of the evening when judges considered all the regional winners, Kiplings came out on top as well to claim the prestigious prize.

Rafiq explains: “I couldn’t believe it when they announced us as winners. It’s such an honour and I’m so immensely proud.

“It’s proof of the amazing commitment and dedication of the staff and all the hard work everyone has put in since we opened the restaurant 12 years ago.

“From front of house staff to chefs and delivery staff everyone has such a key role to play. We’re one big family and I couldn’t have done it without them. It really is such an amazing team effort.”

The restaurant – which serves authentic Kashmiri as well as popular Pakistani and Indian dishes – fought off competition from around 100 establishments to win the prize.

Rafiq continues: “After lockdown, it was the first competition that was available, so I thought for team morale why don’t we enter it.

“It was quite a lengthy process and judges came to visit us to get a flavour of the environment and witness the team working together at first hand.

“It really is an amazing result.

“With the cost of living, eating out is very much a special treat these days. Due to this, we want to create a fine dining experience, not just with the food but with the whole environment. Customers expect quality, and we pride ourselves on this – providing them with a wonderful experience.”

The restaurant is well known for its links with the local community.

Over the years staff have helped raise much-needed funds for the local hospice. They also do a lot of work with local schools – inviting pupils in for ‘experience days’ where they get to see the whole food journey from sourcing the vegetable through to serving up the finished dish.

As well as an honour for the staff at the restaurant, Rafiq is also proud to have put Calderdale on the map.

He says: “The area around Sowerby Bridge has suffered very bad publicity in recent years due to the floods which have devastated the district. However, there are lots of positive things going on here.

“The street outside the restaurant is a major filming area for the popular TV series Happy Valley. We hope that the passion and dedication of all our team when it comes to customer service at the restaurant creates a unique sense of happiness.

“Most of the awards from these kinds of events tend to go towards Bradford restaurants, so it makes a change to show that Calderdale is up there when it comes to dining out for fine Indian food.

“We’re delighted to have put the area on the map.”

Rafiq and his team’s commitment to outstanding customer service are witnessed by the 5-star ratings the restaurant regularly receives. Comments include:
• “Lovely meal – ready when needed and friendly staff.”
• “Great food. Delivered on time. Definitely 5 stars.”
• “The best I’ve had for a long time. Can’t fault a single bit.”

The Food Awards England celebrate everything food related by recognising and rewarding the best in servers, specialists and manufacturing within England.