The fifth Leicester Curry Awards were a spectacular success, with seven establishments crowned as culinary winners at the city’s stylish Athena events venue.
The prestigious red-carpet event took place on Monday evening (September 26), with over 500 glamorous guests turning out to enjoy a night of exciting revelations, entertainment and of course – curry!
Dressed in their best, the anticipation was tangible, as restauranteurs gathered at the venue to see who would be named among this years’ winners.
Seven titles were up for grabs, including ‘Best Indian Street Food’, ‘Best New Restaurant’ and the coveted ‘Restaurant of the Year’.
However, it was Anika Balti Express who secured the first win of the night, picking up the award for ‘Best Takeaway,’ a category sponsored by Bond Adams LLP Solicitors.
The runner up was Hannans Spicy Cuisine.
Next up was the ‘Best Indian Street Food’ category, sponsored by Pukaar Group. This was won by Chatwala, with the runner up named as Desi Street Food.
The award for ‘Best New Restaurant’, sponsored by John Lewis and Partner, went to Tandem, which opened in Leicester’s Highcross back in late 2019.
Runner up in this category was Saffron Ivy.
ITV News reporter Rajiv Popat, was the event’s Master of Ceremonies on the night, which was punctuated with entertainment courtesy of energetic dance troop R & R Productions and powerhouse singer Lena Bettles. The Leicester’s Got Talent winner put on a show stopping performance, belting out a string of hits as guests enjoyed a delicious three course meal.
As the night moved on, more awards were called, with The Broadway Bar and Grill summoned to the stage to collect their award for ‘Best Pub Restaurant’ – a category sponsored by Cobra Beer.
The team’s delight was obvious, as they jumped to their feet upon hearing their name, cheering in what was perhaps the biggest display of excitement on the night.
“I’m so proud and a bit surprised, because my husband’s hard work has come true,” said Nikita Desai of the win.
“I think all the sacrifices we’ve made as a family have worked out so well. I’m so proud of my husband, and Broadway, and Leicester Curry Awards because it has given us an opportunity to win this award,” she added.
In the Pub Restaurant category, The Indian Chef at 3 Kiln was named runner up.
Avatar Dining also gave a rapturous cheer as their name was called in the ‘Best Fine Dining’ category, sponsored by Mattioli Woods. Mumbai Inn were named as worthy runners up.
“We are very happy and this is such a proud moment,” said owner Mahesh Shrestha. “It’s all about teamwork and also the valued customers. They recognise us – they helped us during the Covid time, and also now.”
In the ‘Best Vegetarian Restaurant’ category, sponsored by Kings Real Estate, Shivalli were crowned the winners.
Tangoe were named as runners up.
Finally, came the coveted ‘Restaurant of the Year’ category, sponsored by the University of Leicester.
This honour went to Dine India, who labelled the win a “pleasant surprise.” Meanwhile Shimla Pinks were named as runners up.
“We’ve been in the finals before, but to win it finally is a pleasant surprise. We’re really happy about it,” said Naz Miah, manager of Dine India.
“We are a very successful restaurant anyway, but hopefully this will take us to the next level,” he added.
Other special ‘legacy’ awards were given on the night, to mark 50 years since the expulsion of Asian people from Uganda.
Sophie Kanabar, Sailesh Thakrar, Jaffar Kapasi OBE, the late Pravinbhai Raichura and the late Lord Mohamed Sheikh, are five inspiring people who made their mark since arriving in the UK as a result of the expulsion.
Two more lifetime achievements were given to people, namely Atul Dawda and Mohammed Yousuf, for their services to the curry industry.
Meanwhile, a special certificate of appreciation was given to Hira Ram for her outstanding service provided to Leicester Curry Awards over the past five years.
This year’s Leicester Curry Awards were hailed an “award ceremony like no other”, by Rob Nixon, temporary chief constable for Leicestershire Poiice, who was one of the esteemed guests on the night.
“If Leicester is the curry capital of the UK, then this feels like the curry awards of the UK,” he said of the event.
“It is really commended, and I am delighted to be here.”
Mike Kapur, His Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire officially opened this year’s awards, which began with a minute’s silence carried out as a mark of respect for the late Queen Elizabeth II.
There was also a celebrity present, in the form of MasterChef winner Eddie Scott, who said it was “a huge honour” to be in attendance.
“It’s an amazing event – a celebration of the brilliant restaurants and Indian food of Leicester,” said the chef, who grew up in the city.
“I’m a huge fan of all of your restaurants, the fantastic food and the uniqueness of the culinary scene in this great city.”
As part of this year’s Leicester Curry Awards, two charity partners, Charity Link and Zinthiya Trust were awarded £4,000 to help them with their cause.