An Indian restaurant in Carlisle has been named as the second best in the north west in a prestigious national contest known as the “Oscars of the Curry World”.
The Viceroy, in Rigg Street, Shaddongate, beat thousands of rivals to clinch second place this year’s British Curry Awards in London.
Speaking today, the restaurant’s boss Sukur Ali – whose restaurant was voted as the best in the region last year – said he was delighted. He said: “It was a real honour to be placed second.
“There are more than 6,000 Indian restaurants in the north west so to be voted the second best was a real honour. I want to thank all the customers who nominated us.”
Mr Ali, 59, who has run his restaurant in Carlisle for the last 34 years, also paid tribute to his chef Parsu Miah, who is also his nephew. He spoke of how over the years, with the help of restaurant reviewers from Cumbrian Newspapers Ltd, he had seen the Viceroy’s reputation rise and spread.
He said: “Running a successful restaurant is very hard work. Everything – from the ingredients to the standards of hygiene – have to be spot on all the time. When I first came to Carlisle it was a struggle because a lot of people didn’t know anything about the kind of food we were offering.
“But with help from reviewers like David Guide at The Cumberland News and Gordon Swindlehurst, people got to know about us and appreciate what we do.”
He said the Curry Awards had done much also to raise the profile of the industry.
As for the favourite dish at his restaurant the current favourite with customers is the tawa, which he described as being like an old fashioned balti dish.
Last year’s awards were supported by Prime Minister David Cameron, who gave his personal backing to the task of promoting new talent in the curry restaurant business.
At the time, he told the awards ceremony: “Like any industry, this one faces its own specific challenges and I know that there have been questions on immigration and getting chefs with the necessary experience.
“I know this problem won’t be fixed overnight – it requires long-term commitment on all sides. So let me promise you this – we will work through this together. We will continue to get you the skilled Asian chefs that you need and we will also work with you to train up the next generation of home-grown chefs.”
It is estimated that 2.5 million Brits eat curry from a restaurant every week, and experts say that the curry industry contributes £3.6bn annually to the UK economy and employs more than 80,000 people.
This year’s British Curry Awards finals were held on Monday at the Battersea Evolution Hotel in London. The winner of the north west heat was the Lancashire-based Blue Tiffen restaurant.