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Leicester crowned ‘England Curry Capital’ 2024

Leicester has been crowned as ‘England’s Curry Capital 2024,’ after a campaign to find the country’s top curry hot spot was revived in the city.

The revelation was made this evening (Tuesday, June 18) at King Richard III Visitor Centre, where local restauranteurs and dignitaries gathered, celebrating afterwards with drinks and canapés.

Leicester Time: Leicester crowned ‘England Curry Capital’ 2024
Picture: Pukaar News

Mike Kapur, His Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire officially opened the event, which is the first of its kind in the city. The original UK Curry Capital competition was established by the late Peter Grove, who passed away in 2016. Peter was passionate about Britain’s love for curry and wanted to highlight the culture and cuisine in the UK. The competition ran for 15 years with five cities named ‘Curry Capital’- Bradford (the last city to hold the title back in 2016), Glasgow, Leicester, Birmingham and West London.

Pukaar Group has revived the competition as an online event for English cities. The public vote ran until 31 May and alongside a judging process, Leicester was triumphant. Over 11,300 people voted in the online poll and via social media, with Leicester gaining 89 per cent of the votes.

Leicester Time: Leicester crowned ‘England Curry Capital’ 2024
Picture: Pukaar News

Speaking about the city’s impressive triumph, Mike Kapur, His Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire, said: “It goes without saying how pleased I am that we’ve got this title. Tonight is a celebration and we should make sure we take it as our opportunity to revitalise a lot of our city’s restaurants by getting out there, enjoying the great hospitality, the great food, making new friends and shouting out to the rest of the world that Leicester’s on the map and we intend to stay there.”

Leicester’s Lord Mayor Bhupen Dave also attended the event, alongside Group Captain Gareth Taylor from the Royal Air Force and Rob Nixon, Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police.

Leicester Time: Leicester crowned ‘England Curry Capital’ 2024
Picture: Pukaar News

“When it comes to curry, in Leicester we are world class,” he said following this evening’s revelation.

“We are the curry capital and winning this award is good for the city and the people living here – we all benefit from good food. The diversity of the city is something that I always talk about and that is also celebrated through the diversity of the dishes, the food, the passion and the way the stories are articulated to the customers.”

The city’s campaign has been backed by popular curry houses in Leicester including Chutney Ivy, Spice of India, Royal Leicester pub restaurant, the Owl and Pussycat and others.

Shaf Islam, owner of Leicester’s Chutney Ivy offered his views on Leicester’s win.

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years and Leicester has always been in my heart – I always thought Leicester was the curry capital of the country so for it to be official is great and for us to receive this award,” he said.

“We are the poster city of multiculturalism in the world and this will be great lift. It’s thoroughly deserved.”

Jay Panchal from the Owl and the Pussycat pub/restaurant, added his enthusiasm: “We certainly deserve it,” he told the Leicester Times. “The dishes we have are very diverse, there’s a lot of choice – a lot of good quality chefs here and I think we do the best curries. It’s as simple as that.”

The city will hold the Curry Capital title for two years before other cities can be nominated in 2026 and the public will be asked to vote again.

Leicester Time: Leicester crowned ‘England Curry Capital’ 2024
Picture: Pukaar News

Leicester has the highest number of Indian restaurants per capita in the UK, with an average of 47 restaurants per 100,000 people. The city specialises in a wide range of South Asian dishes – with curries hailing from countries like Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, each country having its own unique flavours and cooking techniques. Leicester’s passion for curry is also shown as the host of the annual Leicestershire Curry Awards – an event which is continuing to grow in popularity.

The judging panel consisted of Matt Wright, founder of the Great Food Club, Gabby Miller, founder of Cool as Leicester, Romail Gulzar and Priti Raichura, luxury event and wedding planner, who also MC’ed the event.

Romail Gulzar, founder of Pukaar Group and the Leicestershire Curry Awards, and Curry Capital judge said: “It is great for Leicester to be named England’s Curry Capital! This award has been a long time coming and hopefully it will encourage people to come to Leicester and try some of the many outstanding restaurants we have here in the city.

“We really do have the best curry here and a passion which cannot be rivalled!”