The 12th annual British Curry Awards took place last night (28 November), with 13 restaurants picking up honours at the ceremony, which took place at Battersea Evolution in London.
Dishoom Covent Garden, London (pictured) received an award for Best Casual Dining Restaurant, while Darbaar in Shoreditch, London won the Best Newcomer Award. The Best Delivery Service award went to the Chilli Pickle in Brighton.
The Best in the North West was awarded to Blue Tiffin in Royton, Oldham; Sheesh Mahal in Llanelli picked up the prize for Best in Wales; Asha's in Birmingham won the Best in the Midlands; the Best of South East went to Maliks Gerrards Cross in Buckinghamshire; Karma restaurant in Whitburn, Bathgate won Best in Scotland; the Cinnamon Club in London's Westminster scooped the prize for best in London Central and City; the Best in the North East was awarded to Aakash restaurant in Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire; Shampan Welling won the Best in London Suburbs; and Prithvi in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire won the Best in the South West award.
A Special Recognition Award was given posthumously to Lord Gulam Noon, an award that has been won previously by chefs including Madhur Jaffrey, Cyrus Todiwala, Anjum Anand, Heston Blumenthal and Shelim Hussain.
Nominations are submitted by members of the public for the event, which took place in association with kukd.com, and was founded in 2005 by Enam Ali.
Hosted by comedian Alistair McGowan, celebrity guests included chef Heston Blumenthal; actors and TV personalities Colin Salmon, Adil Ray and Saira Khan; MPs Chris Grayling, Ann Main and Paul Scully; Great British Bake-Off semi-finalist Chetna Makan; The Apprentice 2016 candidate Karthik Nagesan, and Sarah Ferguson.
Blumenthal said: "I'm very proud and lucky to be part of this event. The word ‘curry' is so intertwined and embedded in our culture. We don't need more Indian chefs; we need more British people who are passionate to cook British curry."
Alongside the awards, the event highlighted industry challenges such as the chef shortage, which an estimated 90% of curry restaurants face, causing an average of two curry restaurant closures each week. Ali announced that he had created the Le Raj Academy in partnership with North East Surrey College of Technology in Epsom, which from 2017 will train chefs and front of house staff to become future stars.