Street food pioneer Dabbawal has been named the UK’s Best Casual Dining Restaurant in the UK’s biggest annual Indian restaurant awards – the British Curry Awards 2015.
The award was presented at a glittering ceremony at The Battersea Park Hotel, London, by Channel 4 news anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy, where Dabbawal was recognised for leading the UK street food craze which has taken hold since it opened its first kitchen in Newcastle in 2010.
Since then, Dabbawal has led a revolution in casual dining, introducing the UK to its unique take on traditional Indian street food and chaats, tapas-style grazing dishes, classic plates and street combos served in its buzzing urban kitchens in High Bridge and Jesmond, Newcastle.
Dabbawal owner Jaf Ali said: “Awards like this generally go to places in London, so it’s fantastic to bring this one back to the North East, where we created our unique street food concept.
“We identified the casual dining sector as an area of real opportunity back in 2008, and long before the mass hysteria we find now around street food, Dabbawal was building an enviable reputation in the north of England – revolutionising the way people enjoy Indian food from the old one and two-course scenario to shared, tapas style eating in a relaxed, buzzing atmosphere.
“We’re proud to have pioneered a genuine change in the way people enjoy the tastes of the sub-continent, and we will continue to innovate, remaining street food pioneers.”
Dabbawal, which operates two restaurants in Newcastle, created its cool urban kitchen concept long before the idea of street food rooted in the streets and markets of Indian cities like Mumbai became popular in the UK.
Recommended by the Sunday Times of November 15, 2015 and by Harden’s Guide and numerous food trend watchers including Buzzfeed, it is four years since the first Dabbawal opened in High Bridge, Newcastle, followed by the second in Jesmond. The family-run business continues to break the mould, its colourful venues consistently held up as leaders in casual dining nationally.
Now in its 11th year, the British Curry Awards is the UK’s main showcase for the £3.5bn a year curry industry and attracts entries from the best in the business. Last night’s ceremony was hosted by BBC News presenter Jane Hill and VIPs and celebrities attending included TV presenters Jo Wood, Casey Batchelor, James Crossley, and Laila Rouass, education secretary Nicky Morgan MP, and leader of the House of Commons, Chris Grayling MP.
Dabbawal owner Jaf Ali added: “The British Curry Awards are deservedly known as the Oscars of the industry, and we were up against the best in the UK, which is a fantastic endorsement for what we’ve done here in Newcastle.
“When we came up with our concept we introduced a fundamental change in the way Indian food was presented in this country, and in the way UK diners enjoyed it. Our customers immediately took to our casual vibe and our tapas-style, street food, and they love our aesthetic – our vintage tiles and timbers, corrugated iron, bamboo, big colours and open kitchens. We have always focused on innovation, and we will keep surprising and delighting foodies, ensuring the north of England remains firmly on the Indian food map.”