Restaurants curry favour

Tahir Ullah Khan of Saffron receives his award at the Bangladeshi Caterers Association, with Mike Penning
Tahir Ullah Khan of Saffron receives his award at the Bangladeshi Caterers Association, with Mike Penning

Two of Hemel Hempstead’s plethora of Bangladeshi restaurants have scooped top awards for their flavoursome curries and perfect poppadoms.

The ninth annual Bangladeshi Caterers Association awards were held in London this month with two entrants from the town having already made it as finalists in two key categories.

Tahir Ullah Khan accepted the Caterer of the Year award for Saffron in Hemel Hempstead’s OldTown, while Md Abdul Hai of Marina Spice Lounge scooped the title of Chef of the Year.

Marina Spice Lounge, in Apsley’s Dickinson Quay, has an impressive four star rating on review site Trip Advisor, while Saffron in the High Street boasts four and a half.

The prestigious event was hosted by TV presenter Tasmin Lucia-Khan and MasterChef’s Gregg Wallace, as well as chief guest Ed Milliband MP.The Labour party leader said: “These are incredibly important awards, because they honour a community and a set of restaurants that are at the heart of every street and every neighbourhood on our country.

“I want to pay tribute to what has been achieved by the British Bangladeshi community. I want to pay tribute to the extraordinary businesses that you represent – the extraordinary family run businesses.

“We are stronger because of our diversity.”

Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning was also present at the awards. He said: “It is great that Hemel Hempstead was represented twice over in the winners list. This just goes to show what great restaurants we have in the town.

“It is of enormous benefit to all of us that we have a thriving curry restaurant scene locally.”

He also presented specially monogrammed chef’s jackets to staff at Sahara in Rossgate to celebrate its highly commended rating in the Tiffin Cup national dining competition, organised by a cross-party group of MPs to celebrate South Asian dining.

To get a curry from one of the award-winning restaurants, visit marina-spice-lounge.co.uk or call 01442 270603, call 01442 230606 for Saffron, or visit saharahemel.co.uk or call 01442 249249.