A YORK Indian has been named Best Restaurant at a national awards ceremony.

Bengal Lounge restaurant and takeaway in Acomb Wood Drive in Woodthorpe, won the accolade alongside other UK Indian restaurants at the Curry Life Awards 2023, at a ceremony held in London’s West End.

Owner Syed Riyadh Ali, said: “We are thrilled to win the award and be recognised in this way.

"Thanks to Curry Life, our customers and everyone else who has supported us every step of the way.”

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York Press: The Bengal Lounge team being presented with their awardThe Bengal Lounge team being presented with their award (Image: Supplied)

The business was previously run as a takeaway, which Syed then transformed into a 32-seater restaurant, focusing on various authentic Indian and Bangladeshi cuisines.

The family business is now run by Syed's son, who has been training in operations management and head chef, Rofiqul Islam.

Chef specialties include the 'Syedpur Special’, a Bangladeshi dish made with fresh garlic, green peppers, coriander, Kashmiri paste and ginger.

The awards, which celebrate the best of the best in the UK's multi-billion-pound curry industry, attracted an audience of over five hundred, including beer magnate Lord Karan Bilimoria, who founded Cobra Beer, and representatives from headline sponsor Just Eat.

The Curry Life Awards, celebrating its 14th year, was the idea of brothers Syed Pasha and Syed Ahmed, who came to the UK from Bangladesh in the 1970s and were surprised by the British appetite for curry.

York Press: The Bengal Lounge team at the eventThe Bengal Lounge team at the event (Image: Supplied)

Syed Pasha said: "We wanted to build upon and celebrate a cuisine that has found its home from home outside the Indian subcontinent. The Indian food here is unique and continues to flourish. We have several awards categories, including Curry Life Editor's Choice, Best Restaurant, Best Chef and Best Takeaway of the Year.

The brothers also organise an annual British curry festival promoting Angrezi (English) curry worldwide. "It's very popular, and we have had diners queuing round the block when we have visited countries like Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka and in Europe."

The awards night, supported by Just Eat, also highlighted the industry's tenacity, which has survived despite the pandemic and cost of living crisis.

Lord Karan Bilimoria, founder and chairman of Cobra Beer, which sponsors the awards, said: “Post-pandemic, we have faced a new problem in the form of the cost of living crisis. Inflation has soared to historic levels, and over the last year, we have seen an energy crisis, a fuel crisis, supply chain issues and labour shortages. However, despite this adversity, the curry industry has been so resilient."

York Press: A performance at the awardsA performance at the awards (Image: Supplied)