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TV chef James Martin rubbed shoulders with David Cameron, whilst Anjum Anand jostled alongside Keith Vaz MP, Ulrika Jonsson and a host of other politicians and celebrities at the British Curry Awards in November 2013.
The annual event, in its ninth year, has become the most glittering of the UK hospitality sector’s calendar. It is an event now on a scale that founder Enam Ali only dreamed of when he launched the first British Curry Awards in 2005.
Now it commands the attention of the nation, attracting big name TV presenters and personalities, and, crucially, politicians who have slowly come to recognise the importance that Curry plays in contributing to our country’s richly diverse cultural landscape, as well as an estimated staggering £3.5 billion for the government coffers, not to mention the tantalising effect it has on our taste buds that has made all this possible.
But whilst the big names might have been present in the Prime Minister and host for the evening Chris Tarrant – the accolades were all for the stars behind the spicy food served up and down the land enjoyed by the British people every day.
From a huge 236,000 public nominations received this year via app, email and post, the winners were selected from their respective category shortlists and announced at the event. Winner of the Best Takeaway Award, in association with Just Eat, the online takeaway ordering service, was Polash Tandoori, in Dartford, Kent. The Special Recognition Award was presented to Mohammed Aslam MBE of Aagrah Group. For a full list of the winners visit http://britishcurryaward.co.uk/index.php/award-winners-2013/
David Cameron, who at the awards in 2009 coined the name the ‘Curry Oscars’, which has stuck, gave high praise to all those involved. In particular, the PM extolled the role the industry played in uniting communities. “The British Curry Industry is one of the biggest success stories of integration in any country – ever!” he said.
He further acknowledged the spirit with which it has succeeded: “The curry industry has been contributing, achieving and rising and that is the spirit we need more than ever in this country today. I wish this Great British industry every possible success in the years to come.”
His words must have been music to the ears of British entrepreneur and restaurateur, Enam Ali MBE, who said, “If anyone had told me back in 2005 that by 2013 our awards dinner would be attended by the Prime Minister and several cabinet and shadow ministers amongst other dignitaries, media and guests, I wouldn’t have believed them. Here you all are and The British Curry Awards have become an institution.”
When he started the awards Enam Ali wanted to provide a fitting showcase for the cuisine he believed in.
What may have started in the UK in the 60s as curry and chips has evolved with restaurants collecting Michelin stars and ‘curry’ chefs increasingly garnering accolades.
In British supermarkets the presence of ‘World Food’ aisles is indicative of the growing demand for food such as curry in the home, as people seek to experiment with spices made more familiar to them by TV chefs and the rising profile of the British Curry Industry.
“The British Curry Industry is one of the biggest success stories of integration in any country – ever!” – Prime Minister David Cameron
Says Enam Ali: “When we started the British Curry Awards in 2005 we were criticised for calling curry ‘British’. I am happy to take the blame for the changes in perception that have taken place since then because today British curry dishes such as Tikka Masala have an identity all of their own and are known and admired throughout the world. As Enam says, curry may have been born in India, but it’s in Britain that it has grown and matured. The British Curry Awards are recognition of that.
Another person one step ahead, like Enam Ali, was Her Majesty The Queen who has sent a message of support for the souvenir programme in each of the years the awards has run.
It seems the rest of the nation is finally catching up with her.
282 Rochdale Road, Coldhurst, Oldham OL1 2HF
Open 7 days a week, 4.30pm to 12.30am.
Tel: 0161 620 6646
Free delivery within a 3 mile radius on orders over £9.
Restaurant and take away that caters for everything from pizzas, curries and kebabs.
Moza Bites offers a friendly, laid back atmosphere. Staff are approachable and the place has a real homely feel to it.
Upon entering the takeaway you are asked if you would like to sit down for your meal – there are a number of comfortable tables around, or if you would like to take it away. We chose to sit down and eat. The chairs were comfortable and we were able to watch some Bollywood films which were playing on the wall mounted TV in the corner.
Our orders were taken from our tables and we were left to relax until the food arrived. You have a full view of the kitchen from the front desk and I enjoyed watching the chef’s work. I noticed it was also quite busy for a Wednesday night which always bodes well for a successful and popular takeaway!
The food arrived and was fantastic, really authentic and wholesome. The portion sizes were large and the waiter refilled our drinks for us. We had Poppadum’s with all the sauces, which was lovely. Their yogurt sauce in particular was very good.
To start we had vegetable samosas which were pleasant and came with a good side salad. We also had mixed tikka meats which were nicely spiced and very succulent.
For a main I had the Vegetable Rogan Josh which was very nice. It had a fresh, spicy tomato flavour. The boys had a Balti dish which was also very good. We shared a tarka dal which was excellent; it had a great balance of flavours between the lentils and the garlic.
A great value takeaway with a fine eye for detail and a passion to delivering great quality cuisine time and time again.
Spice City’s Restaurant of The Month is The Pavilion at Shaw and you may not have heard of it because it is new! The Pavilion is a characterful second floor establishment refurbished by a new owner to offer both Indian and Chinese cuisine in a relaxed ambient setting.
We visited just days after a successful launch and owner Sam was running about with a tool belt on tweaking finishing touches. He greeted us with a massive smile and waved us over to some seating, and then disappeared. But I got the sense this is his style, and by his own admission Sam is always on the go!
The restaurant is decorated warmly in plum red and is smartly carpeted. Crisp white tablecloths don well placed tables accessorised with black faux leather chairs whilst Bollywood music emanates from a single plasma screen on the wall. Most impressive is a well stocked bar in a stylish mirrored bar area. Chinese fans decorate another wall and with Chinese lanterns on the way the Pavilion promises to be a curious blend of two very distinct cultures.
The waiters were attentive and helpful as we examined the menu, and despite it being a quiet night I enjoyed the restaurant’s intimate charm helped by the character of the original building. My spot by a toasty radiator and looking out of sash windows onto a rainy high street, served to highlight the cosy warmth inside.
A Chinese & Indian restaurant is relatively uncommon, but Sam has some pedigree in this area. His first Chinese-Indian fusion restaurant China Gate Inn on Ripponden Road, Oldham, which opened in January, has been very successful and it was the high percentage of customers that came from Shaw that spurred him on to open The Pavilion. Other customers may be more familiar with Ruchi which previously occupied the same premises at the old Wagon and Horses pub. Also successful, it had Sam’s signature style of experimentation by serving up all your favourite curries with an exotic twist; Crocodile, Bison and Ostrich were all on the menu!
You won’t find these at The Pavilion, but food is cooked by expert Chinese and Indian chefs and the menu certainly offers something different to punters. Portions are plentiful, and my Afghan Chicken packed a real punch! Being curry lovers we didn’t try the Chinese food, but this might have been our mistake! The menu gives interesting descriptions with details of the techniques that make the dishes unique to this restaurant, with both chefs bringing their heritage and family tradition to the cooking.
Sam is very popular amongst customers and his easy friendly nature belies a man who knows how to run a restaurant; he even has a third Indian restaurant, Mehek, on Oldham Road. This suggests he will be more successful than a number of restaurants that have previously occupied the site. With his exuberant friendly charm, helpful waiters and an enticing menu The Pavilion is set to be a recipe for success. What’s more a trendy bar and dancefloor area suggests this place will be transformed on a Saturday night, and with a few pubs nearby The Pavilion looks to be a great addition to Shaw.
Open: Monday – Thursday 4.30pm-12am; Friday – Saturday 4.30pm-1am; Sunday 1pm-11pm.
1st Floor, 6A Rochdale Road, Shaw OL2 8AD. Tel: 01706 551239/ 01706 551267