Local restaurateurs have expressed humility and appreciation after being nominated for awards at a prestigious culinary awards night in London.

Zak Ahmed, manager of Babul’s in Darlington and Barnard Castle has said what a great honour it is to be shortlisted for two awards for the British Curry Awards.

The Barnard Castle restaurant, located in the Market Place, has been shortlisted for Best Restaurant in the North East.

The Barnard castle restaurant originally opened in 1994 and for 25 years was known as Spice Island.

The Northern Echo: The restaurant also serves cocktails and coffeeThe restaurant also serves cocktails and coffee (Image: Sarah Caldecott, Newsquest)

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In 2019, Zak and his brother Shuhel decided to rebrand and name the restaurant after their father, Babul, who built the business all those years ago.

The Darlington restaurant has been shortlisted for Best Newcomer for the Darlington restaurant, despite only having been open for six weeks.

Manager, Zak Ahmed, said: “It’s amazing to be shortlisted. These awards are very prestigious, it’s like the Oscars in the restaurant world.

"Obviously, we’ve only been open in Darlington for a few weeks so we were really surprised to be shortlisted so it’s a massive achievement.

“We didn’t even expect to be talked about in Darlington yet. If we don’t win we’re still really happy just to be shortlisted so soon after opening and it’s also great that people still love our Barnard Castle restaurant as well.”

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The Northern Echo: Both restaurants are named after Zak and Shuhel's father, BabulBoth restaurants are named after Zak and Shuhel's father, Babul (Image: Sarah Caldecott, Newsquest)

In a Facebook post, the Babul’s team said: “Although we’ve only been at Skinnergate a short time, we’ve been in Darlington for 2 years and We want to thank everyone for all the support and love we’ve been shown.

"We wouldn’t be where we are if it wasn’t for the amazing backing of the Darlington People”

The public can vote for their favourite restaurant online for the Diner’s Choice Awards, which means potentially, the Babul’s team could walk away with three awards tomorrow night.

Voting opens tomorrow (Monday, November 28) via www.britishcurryawards.org/vote or by clicking here.

There is no shortage of Indian restaurants in Darlington but, regardless, Babul’s has certainly made its mark in the town.

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