The UK’s top Asian Restaurants, Chefs and Takeaways were revealed at the Asian Restaurant & Takeaway Awards (ARTA) 2019, held at the Park Plaza Hotel Westminster. The awards are in recognition of the UK’s best of South Asian, Thai and Chinese cuisine across a series of prestigious regional and national categories.
From the National Chef, Takeaway and Newcomer of the Year Award, to the Best Thai and Chinese Restaurants, Regional Takeaways and more, ARTA spotlighted the pinnacle of over 2400 applications across the UK. The grand award of Champion of Champions was awarded to crown the very best of a superb group of entrants from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Applications were refined using a survey of over 350,000 customers by ARTA official partners, ChefOnline – the digital application to order food and book tables on the go – to unveil the finalists.
The winners were selected by an esteemed panel of Ambassadors & Judges comprising Paul Stuart Scully MP, Member of Parliament for Sutton and Cheam; Stephen Anthony McPartland MP, Member of Parliament for Stevenage; Donald Sloan, Founder and Chair of the Oxford Cultural Collective; Dr Wali Tasar Uddin, Former President & Senior Advisor British Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce in UK; Devon Malcolm, Ex England International Cricketer; Samantha Simmonds, Journalist and Broadcaster; and Judges Chand Rahman – Executive Chef, Multi Award Winning Celebrity Chef; Councillor Mohammed Mujibur Rahman – Ex-Mayor of Corby; Graham Taylor – Senior Chef Lecturer, Cambridge Regional College; and Kuldeep Singh, Lecturer & Celebrity Chef Nescot College.
The UK’s Curry industry contributes £5 billion annually, which as of 2015 has accounted for a fifth of the restaurants in the UK dating back to the 1800’s. Today there are more Indian restaurants in Greater London than in Delhi and Mumbai combined.
The event was hosted by renowned BBC News newsreader and ARTA ambassador Samantha Simmonds. The former Sky News anchor was joined by entertainer Paul Martin as co-host. Mixing hilarious stand-up comedy with magic tricks and performance, Paul has been entertaining audiences for the past twenty years.
Speaking about the Asian Restaurant & Takeaway Awards 2019, Salik Mohammed Munim, Founder Member and CEO of ARTA, said: “Year on year, the standard for this competition continues to defy imagination. With more entrants than ever before, we have been immensely impressed by the quality on show this year. We commend all the winners and finalists of ARTA 2019. The selection process has been rigorous, and we witnessed some remarkable contestants, therefore picking the winners was not an easy task. All the winners and finalists should be equally proud. Asian cuisine has embedded itself deep within the beating heart of British culture and brings about so much creativity, flavour, vibrancy and joy to so many. There is something truly special about the Asian cuisine industry, which binds communities, regions and an entire nation by the common love of incredible food. The ARTA is the perfect platform to recognise the magicians behind the magic that makes the food so superb”.
The Asian Restaurant & Takeaway Awards (ARTA) 2019 National Winners:
National Champion of Champions – Hot Chilli Restaurant (Bolton). Shek Abul Bashar said: “Wow, what an honour. To be named the Champions of all Champions is something everybody in this industry dreams of – it is an overwhelming honour. Asian food continues to rise in popularity in the UK. Without our loyal customers in the North West this would not have been possible, and we pride ourselves highly on the fact that people enjoy our food just as much as we enjoy making it. To be named the best is something we will cherish forever”.
National Chef of the Year – Radhuni Princes Risborough (Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire). Akthoraz Miah said: “It is truly an honour to be recognised as the National Chef of the Year. Radhuni is truly proud to have a nationally recognised chef serving the wonderful town of Princes Risborough. The award is a motivation for us to continue delivering the best Asian cuisine to our customers.”
National Newcomer of the Year – Mother India (Hornchurch, Havering). Syed Forid said: “We are absolutely delighted to be named as the National Newcomer of the Year. Mother India specializes in serving food prepared in the best Indian tradition from a menu that reflects the great regional diversity of Indian cuisine. We thank our customers from Hornchurch without whose loyal support and backing we couldn’t have won. They truly inspire us to be the best.”
National Takeaway of the Year – Peppermills Indian Takeaway (Ascot, Berkshire). Shamim Ali said: “For a small local Indian takeaway in Ascot to be named a National award winner is truly inspirational. We always strive to offer true original cuisine to take home, from a Royal Indian Supper to a Clay Oven marinade. Our heartfelt gratitude to the organisers of ARTA and the judging panel.”
Lifetime Achievement Award – Nurul Hoque (Noor Ali). Noor Ali said: “I express my gratitude to Asian Restaurants & Takeaway Awards for conferring me with the Lifetime Achievement Award this year. It’s been an incredible journey, and to be recognised for something that I am truly passionate about is dream come true. Asian food is truly the bedrock of Britain and I am only grateful that I could be a small part of such a big industry.”
Restaurant Personality of the Year Kuti Miah of Kuti’s Brasserie (The Royal Pier, Southampton) said: “I am incredibly honoured to be recognised by ARTA as the Restaurant Personality of the Year. When I first moved to Southampton in 1980, I saw the pier and wanted to set up my own restaurant here. Kuti’s Brasserie on The Royal Pier offers the most beautiful view of the city. We wanted to celebrate exactly what the Pier is about. We cater for everyone now so people should pop in for a nice drink or meal and see what we have done with the place. The people of Southampton have been so supportive of us and we want to continue the historical legacy of this building.”
European Restaurant of the Year – Shapla Indian Restaurant (County Donegal, Ireland). Shah Shajon Miah said: “To be recognised as the European Restaurant of the Year is unbelievable. We always strived hard to offer the best Indian food in County Donegal – but to be named as the best in Europe is beyond our imagination. We are so thankful to the organisers of ARTA and the judging panel.”
Best Thai Restaurant of the Year – Thai Moom, Bromley. Pabel Chowdhury said: “It’s such an honour to have been awarded this accolade. I dedicate this award to my team at Thai Moom who work tirelessly and with such passion to put our diners first. Our heartfelt gratitude to ARTA and the judging committee. The team at Thai Moom are proud to open our doors from today as the best Thai Restaurant in the whole of UK!”
Best Thai Chef of the Year – Thaii Fusion, Sittingbourne. Kiron Haque said: “To be awarded Best Thai Chef of the Year at ARTA is truly a dream come true. After winning this award I am even more committed to ensuring that I not only tantalise the taste buds of my diners with new Thai culinary delights but that I continually reinvent myself to stay ahead of the game. Thank you to everyone at ARTA!”
Best Chinese Restaurant of the Year – Hakkaland, Harrow. Steven Lee said: “Thank you to ARTA and all of the judges for bestowing this award on Hakkaland! We are truly humbled and honoured to be declared the Best Chinese Restaurant of the Year. We dedicate this award to all of our wonderful customers as without them we wouldn’t be where we are today. We feel immensely proud to be the best Chinese restaurant in the whole of UK!”
The Asian Restaurant & Takeaway Awards (ARTA) 2019 Regional Winners:
Regional Restaurant of the Year: Best of East Anglia – Ruby, Hertford
Regional Restaurant of the Year: Best of East London – Bengal Tiger, City of London
Regional Restaurant of the Year: Best of East Midlands – Taste of India, Kettering
Regional Restaurant of the Year: Best of Essex – Indian Ocean, Epping
Regional Restaurant of the Year: Best of Kent – Gufaa Raja, West Malling
Regional Restaurant of the Year: Best of North London – The Rajdoot, Hampstead
Regional Restaurant of the Year: Best of Northern Ireland – Bangla, Bangor
Regional Restaurant of the Year: Best of Scotland – Spice Tandoori, Elgin
Regional Restaurant of the Year: Best of South Central – Cafe Spice, Oxford
Regional Restaurant of the Year: Best of South East – Tamashah, Crawley
Regional Restaurant of the Year: Best of South West – Nibana, Plymouth
Regional Restaurant of the Year: Best of Surrey – Ripley Curry Garden, Ripley Woking
Regional Restaurant of the Year: Best of Wales – Sheesh Mahal, Swansea
Regional Restaurant of the Year: Best of West Midlands – Bhaijaans, Sutton Coldfield
Regional Chef of the Year: Best of North East – The Vine Indian Cuisine, Mosborough
Regional Chef of The Year: Best of East Anglia – Curry Palace, Cottenham
Regional Chef of The Year: Best of East London – The Empress, Tower Hamlets, East London
Regional Chef of The Year: Best of East Midland – The Spice Lounge, Rushden / Higham Ferrers
Regional Chef of The Year: Best of Essex – Taj Mahal, Leigh-on-Sea
Regional Chef of The Year: Best of Kent – Taj Barming, Maidstone
Regional Chef of The Year: Best of South East – Tikka Restaurant, Brighton
Regional Chef of The Year: Best of South London – Khan’s Battersea
Regional Chef of The Year: Best of South West – Eastern Eye, Newton Abbot
Regional Chef of The Year: Best of Surrey – Stoneleigh Brasserie, Epsom, Surrey
Regional Chef of The Year: Best of Wales – The Grand Sultan, Port Talbot
Regional Takeaway of the Year: Best of East Anglia – Surma Takeaway, Stevenage
Regional Takeaway of the Year: Best of Kent – Belash Tandoori, Maidstone
Regional Takeaway of the Year: Best of North East – Khushboo Takeaway, Sheffield
Regional Takeaway of the Year: Best of North London – Bayleaf Indian Takeaway, Whetstone
Regional Takeaway of the Year: Best of North West – Bombay Cuisine, Prestwich
Regional Takeaway of the Year: Best of Northern Ireland – Asha Tandoori, Bangor
Regional Takeaway of the Year: Best of South East – Red Chillies, Brighton
Regional Takeaway of the Year: Best of South East London – Himalayan Kitchen, Penge
Regional Takeaway of the Year: Best of West Midlands – Chutney Express, Castle Bromwich