When diners head to the finest Indian restaurants in the North West, they may be drawn at first to Manchester’s Curry Mile.
But two Lancashire businesses have proved there is a new capital of South Asian cuisine - and it’s right here in Preston.
The English Curry Awards 2012 have named Spice King in Holme Slack the North West Takeaway of the Year and Double Tree in Fulwood the North West Restaurant of the Year runner-up.
The Takeaway of the Year award recognises those whose gastronomic delights grace dining tables, living rooms and laps in people’s homes.
Syed Ali, 34, is manager of Spice King in Ronaldsway, which edged out Mumtaz Jaldi Jaldi, of Deepdale Shopping Park, Preston, and Sajaan’s of Manchester.
He said the award was extra special because his team had narrowly missed out on glory in 2011.
He said: “Last year we were in the final and we were the runners-up. We’ve only been open since 2011 and within that short period we’ve achieved quite a bit.
“We’re very happy because it’s a very big achievement for us.
“I guess it gives Preston a good name. We are very proud.”
The English Curry Awards were launched in 2011, and are based on recommendations from diners.
Syed said: “I think our customers really enjoy our food. Our home specials are very popular.
“Our food is mainly Indian, with Bengali and Pakistani cuisine.
“One of the most popular dishes we’ve created is our Shahi Chilli Chicken.
We were tested on our food, our service, everything really, and our hygiene standards as well, which are very high.”
The prestigious Restaurant of the Year award honours the restaurant which serves up the finest curry cuisine and atmosphere.
Gulam Moktadir is director of Double Tree in Garstang Road, which opened around 18 months ago after his family expanded their original Altrincham base.
The 45-year-old said: “I grew up in the Curry Mile. I’ve been in this trade for nearly 20 years so obviously I’ve seen a lot of changes.
“Four years ago I went back to India and worked in hotels and restaurants, which helped me get an idea of more quality food.
“Over the years Indian restaurants have not changed much - the decor has but the food hasn’t - and when you go in you see Madras, Bhuna, Jalfrezi, Vindaloo, the usual British Indian curries.
“In India you see so many different ways of cooking. I wanted to bring that here.”
He said he had introduced more fish and game and used fresh ingredients and spices rather than “powders and pastes” to create an upmarket dining experience.
He said: “You can tell the difference.”
For our review of the Spice King, see Friday’s Evening Post.