A Westside restaurant has been given a vital boost – with the good news coming all the way from Bollywood in India.
The owner and staff of Pushkar on Broad Street were thrilled to learn they had won the West Midlands category of the British Curry Awards, held in Battersea, London.
But they were even more delighted when their name was announced by Bollywood star Abhishek Bachchan, who attended virtually to present the award.
The 17th British Curry Awards, in association with Just Eat, were hosted by actor and comedian Omid Djalili. They have been dubbed the ‘Oscars of the Curry World’.
Pushkar proprietor Rai Singh, who launched the diner in November 2009, attended the curry awards with a number of his staff.
He said: “Just to be shortlisted for this award is very good, but it means a lot to win it. We didn’t expect it.
“You have to be nominated by the public and then there’s a panel of judges who send mystery diners to the restaurants.
“They include hospitality heads, wine merchants, and they scrutinise everything. They look at the whole package, menus, ingredients, the lot.”
Mr Singh said it was a “very nice surprise” when Abhishek Bachchan read out their name.
“We need this award to boost our trade because we’ve struggled with things such as the pandemic and roadworks. It’s been challenging.”
Organisers said this year’s awards ceremony had particular significance given the challenges faced by the industry over the past 18 months due to Covid-19.
Westside BID general manager Mike Olley said: “Our heartiest congratulations go to Pushkar Restaurant for this outstanding award.
“We pride ourselves on providing a top quality dining experience here on Westside, and this deserved recognition for Pushkar is testament to that.”
In a message of support, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was delighted that one of the greatest events in our gastronomic calendar was back in action.
He said it was fantastic to celebrate the genius of our curry restaurateurs.
The British Curry Awards attracted a record number of nominations, Mr Johnson added.