The team behind a North East curry house has won a prestigious award at a ceremony in London this week.

Babul’s of Barnard Castle has once again won Best Indian Restaurant in the North East at the Bangladesh Caterer’s Association and brothers Shuhel and Zak Ahmed travelled to Westminster for the awards ceremony.

Originally named Spice Island, the restaurant was well-known across County Durham and Darlington for 25 years before it was re-branded as Babul’s in 2019.

Last month the family business expanded and another Babul’s restaurant opened, this time in Darlington.

The Northern Echo: Another award to add to the Babul's restaurant's armouryAnother award to add to the Babul's restaurant's armoury (Image: Zak Ahmed)

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Zak and Shuhel decided to name the restaurant after their father who established the popular eatery in 1994.

Zak Ahmed, manager of Babul’s, said: “We’re all immensely proud of the achievement. Also, because for the last six to nine months Shuhel and I have focused so much on getting the Darlington restaurant up and running, it’s amazing that Barnard Castle has still managed to win. We have an amazing team, our staff and brilliant, they’ve kept standards and quality really high, and this is for them.

“It's amazing to win over restuarants in Newcastle and Durham because there's so much competition.

“It’s obviously been a real challenge for hospitality with Covid and everything so it’s a relief more than anything to know that we’ve got loyal customers who keep coming back to us.

“Dad has been really happy with what we’ve done with the Darlington restaurant and he sees our vision now and he’s over the moon as it’s his name on the wall.”

The Northern Echo: The team was over the moon to winThe team was over the moon to win (Image: Zak Ahmed)

The Northern Echo: More awards for the well-known curry houseMore awards for the well-known curry house (Image: Zak Ahmed)

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Cllr. Sajna Ali, CLP BAME officer, said: “I was really humbled to hear that Babul’s had been shortlisted and when the lads (Zak and Shuhel) invited me to go down to London with them I said I was honoured.

“They really deserved the win. They’ve been through a lot and have always given so much back to the community. During Covid they went above and beyond to provide meals for people who needed it and this was before it became a trend.

“They’ve worked really hard at their business and they deserve all the recognition they get.”

Babul’s of Barnard Castle is located on the Market Place in the town and Babul’s Darlington is on Skinnergate in the building formerly occupied by Pizza Express.

The Northern Echo: Manager Zak Ahmed thanked the staff for maintaining such high standards and qualityManager Zak Ahmed thanked the staff for maintaining such high standards and quality (Image: Zak Ahmed)

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