The finalists for this year’s Leicester Curry Awards were announced last night, at a prestigious red carpet event held at Mattioli Woods.
Indian restaurant and takeaway owners gathered in the venue’s impressive Sky Lounge last night (Monday, August 8),to discover which 35 restaurants and take-aways would make it through to the finals of the fifth annual Leicester Curry Awards.
Following a red carpet arrival, guests were treated to a drinks and canapé reception in the venue, where the anticipation mounted ahead of the main event.
It was hosted by Priti Raichura with results broadcast live by Kevin Ncube of BBC Radio Leicester. The pair captured the buzz and energy of the night, engaging the crowd with significant ease.
Over the course of the evening, five finalists were revealed in seven different categories, starting with ‘Best Takeaway,’ a category sponsored by Bond Adams. They were; Hannans Spicy Cuisine, Anika Balti Express, Masalas, Khyber Nights and Aylestone Spice.
‘Best Vegetarian Restaurant’ was sponsored by Kings Estate Agents. The five finalists were announced as; Shiv Sagar, Shivalli, Tangoe, Sharmilee and Desi Bites.
Some of the finalists shared their excitement with the Leicester Times.
“I’m absolutely surprised and shocked as well because it’s not even been two years. We didn’t expect this at all,” said Sukhwinder Singh of Desi Street Food.
“One of my friends was selling his restaurant because it was lockdown, and I came home and said to my wife, ‘I’m going to give you a little bit of a surprise, I’m buying a restaurant,” revealed, Ritesh Khetia, when asked about the origins of Desi Bites.
“I said ‘you’ve got the recipes, I can sell, let’s do it together. That’s how the restaurant was born.”
“It’s a dream for me and the family to win an award for Tangoe restaurant as we’ve been in the industry for 20 years now,” added Sentur Surendran of Tangoe. “We put all our hard work in to it, so I look forward to competing this year.”
In the ‘Best Pub Restaurant’ category, which was sponsored by Cobra Beer, the finalists were revealed as The Indian Chef at 3 Kilns, Paddy’s Marten Inn, Gurkha Curry – The Wyvern, The Broadway Bar and Grill, and The Woolpack.
“We’re very proud to be associated with the Leicester Curry Awards, and have been doing it since it started,” said Biren Parikh of Cobra Beer.
“Not everybody can win, but to be here is a most prestigious thing. Everybody’s a winner, whoever’s nominated,” he added.
When it comes to ‘Best New Restaurant’, sponsored by John Lewis and Partners, the five establishments with the most votes were named as Tandem, Everest lounge (Market Harborough), Friends Tandoori, The Taj Bar and Grill and Saffron Ivy.
“It’s good to be here – for the first time ever,” said Manjit Pabla of Friends Tandoori.
“The competition is positive for the curry industry in general. It’s not like ‘cheap and cheerful curry’, ‘late night after the pub curry – that perception has to change.”
In the category of ‘Best Street Food’, which was sponsored by Pukaar Group, the five finalists were named as Desi Street Food, Mumbai Sandwich Station, Indian Rooster (Queens Road), Chatwala (Gypsy Lane) and Momma’s Kitchen.
‘Best Fine Dining Restaurant’ was a category sponsored by Mattioli Woods. The successful finalists were announced as SOI Indian Restaurant, Avatar Dining, Heritage India, Mumbai Inn and Salim’s.
Finally in the coveted ‘Restaurant of the Year’ category, sponsored by the University of Leicester, the finalists were revealed as; Indian Fusion, Chutney Ivy, Dine India, Spice of India (Syston), and Shimla Pinks.
Speaking of the importance of the Leicester Curry Awards, which will take place at Leicester’s Athena Events Venue on September 26, Liz Jones from the University of Leicester, said: “It’s fantastic to have this annual event, really celebrating something so important in the city.
“It’s perhaps easy to take for granted the restaurants that are all around us, but they add a lot to our lives, so we’re delighted to support them.”
To find out more about the awards, visit: https://leicestercurryawards.com/
To view the event gallery for the event, visit: https://leicestercurryawards.com/finalist-2022-gallery/