A TAKEAWAY is proving to be hot stuff in the world of Eastern cuisine after being shortlisted for a national honour.
Saffron Indian Takeaway, in Warren Square, Horden, has made it into the top three finalists for the North-East Takeaway of the Year category in this year’s British Curry Awards.
With England’s long-lasting love affair with curry, the awards aim to highlight the value of all those who work tirelessly to provide us with the perfect dish.
More than 7,000 curry lovers cast nominations for the awards, which include categories such as Restaurant of the Year, Chef of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Award.
Bablu Miah, 39, who is originally from Bangladesh, opened Saffron Indian Takeaway in Horden just two years ago and has never looked back.
He said: “I’m very happy and very proud to be nominated.
“The organisers phoned me up from Manchester and said you are in the British Curry Awards.
“I said ‘are you sure it’s me?’, I was shocked the first time I heard. They confirmed the address and I said ‘yes, that’s me’. To be in the top three in the North-East, I was very happy.”
Bablu, who employs three staff at Saffron, lives in Newcastle, where he owns restaurants and said he looked to open a takeaway “somewhere nice and quiet” and found Horden ideal with “lovely customers”.
He added he believed local people had voted for his eaterie because “it’s some of the best food around”.
He said: “It’s a takeaway, but customers say the food is restaurant standard, and we have an open plan kitchen so people can see what we do.”
Saffron faces competition from Indian Cottage, in Crook, and Moti Jheel, in Newcastle, in the category.
Judges are visiting the shortlisted venues to find the country’s best curry.
Bablu said: “If we win it will be fantastic. We are working hard and it’s a first-time entry for us. “Without the customers’ support it wouldn’t have been possible, and I’d also like to thank my landlord George Catleugh for his support.”
Bablu and his family will find out if Saffron has taken the crown during a glittering awards bash at Salford City Stadium on Monday, September 2.