The UK’s best curry houses have just been named for 2023, and we’re pleased to see that a few of our favourite Manchester restaurants have been included in the cut.
The Nation’s Curry Awards were celebrated at a glitzy ceremony in Manchester last night, with hospitality pros across the region picking up gongs for their excellent cooking skills.
Designed to recognise and celebrate ‘the talents and hard work of individuals and businesses within the UK’s curry industry’, awards categories included Best Chef of the Year, Vegetarian Restaurant of the Year, and Best Customer Service.
Taking home the gong for Best of Manchester was Asha’s on Peter Street. A fine dining Indian restaurant established in 2016, it featured in the Michelin Guide in 2017 and 2018 and takes its name from Bollywood icon and founder Asha Bhosle.
Beating other popular Manchester eateries like Indian Tiffin Room, Delhi House Cafe, Kabana, Arnero, Wah Ji Wah, Dhoom Dhaam, Indique, and Chit ‘N’ Chaat, the team took to social media to celebrate after the ceremony writing: “We won! ‘Best of Manchester!”
“Thank you to all our customers for your continued support at Asha’s. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at the #nationalcurryawards.”
Fans were quick to congratulate the restaurant, with one person writing: “Huge Congratulations. Totally deserving. For my favourite restaurant.”
Another said: “You deserve all the best, you r the one and the one only. Love you all so much without knowing you …”
Asha’s reopened after a period of closure and a change of management last August, following a takeover by KRO Hospitality group.
At the time, it retained its executive chef Ashwani Rangta but he has since moved over to Cheshire to head up the newly acclaimed eatery GupShup. However, the award win last night suggests that Asha’s is as popular as ever.
Other Greater Manchester restaurants to pick up awards at the ceremony included Ayaan’s in Bolton, which was crowned Pakistani Restaurant of the Year, and The Great Kathmandu, a Burton Road favourite which took home the gong for Best Nepalese Restaurant of the Year.
A Spokesperson for the inaugural Nation’s Curry Awards 2023 said: “It has been an unforgettable night, filled with incredible food, vibrant energy, and passionate conversations.
“We have celebrated the finest in the UK’s curry scene, recognising the creativity, innovation, and exceptional service that have become synonymous with this beloved cuisine.
“The UK’s curry industry is a vital part of our culture, and these awards recognised the exceptional talents of the individuals and businesses that make it so special. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees, and thank you to everyone who participated and supported this event.”
Feature image – Asha’s Manchester
A restaurant in Ancoats is serving up plates of crispy fried squirrel
A Manchester restaurant is serving up plates of crispy fried squirrel – and their customers absolutely love it.
Taking game dishes to a whole other level, the wild crispy buttermilk fried squirrel at Ancoats restaurant Street Urchin comes served atop a creamy pulled ham hock cassoulet, with hazelnut bread croutons and nettle pesto and costs £22.50.
Sourced from their game supplier in Cumbria, it might sound nutty but owner Rachel Choudhary told The Manc that the dish has proven incredibly popular – and that the team has been ‘really surprised’ at how much of a hit it has become with customers since adding it to the menu.
She said: “We were looking for something new for the game options on the menu. Kev was speaking to our game supplier and randomly asked if he had any grey squirrels. Happily, he did.
“The whole team tried the dish the day it went on and the majority thought it was really good.
“We weren’t sure if it would sell, but have been really surprised. So many people have tried it and given good feedback. We’ve recommended that they eat it like chicken wings and pick it up, that way you get most of the meat.
“I’d never tried squirrel before and I absolutely loved it, it has great flavour, rich buttery texture, and it’s wild, free-range meat.”
The gray squirrel currently has an estimated population of 2.5 million in the UK according to the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust and is considered a good sustainable alternative to factory-farmed meat.
It is legal to control grey squirrels by shooting or trapping them in the UK in a humane manner and even helps protect the UK’s endangered native red squirrel population.
Whilst some might find the idea of eating squirrels a tad unappealing, many chefs argue it is better to eat them when culling as it means the meat does not go to waste.
English market diner Street Urchin was first opened on Great Ancoats Street in 2019 by husband and wife team Rachel and Kevin Choudary.
Prior to opening in town, the couple ran The Victoria in Altrincham for eight years before deciding that it was time to move on.
Their Ancoats market diner has made its name on being one of the few city centre restaurants specialising in fresh fish, with everything from clams and mackerel to cured chalk stream trout, king scallops, and whole grilled red gurnard regularly available on the menu.