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UK: Indian eatery wins Tiffin Cup

By H S Rao in London
May 17, 2006 10:37 IST
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Taj Mahal, an Indian restaurant set up in Pembrokeshire nearly three decades ago, has won the inaugural Tiffin Cup, a nationwide competition in the UK that showcases the best of South Asian cuisine.

Over 40 restaurants throughout Britain had been nominated for the contest by their local MPs before being whittled down to a shortlist of 14 for the final showdown at the House of Commons on Tuesday night.

The Tiffin Cup was launched by British MPs Keith Vaz, Michael Fabricant and John Barrett in recognition of the contribution of South Asian restaurants to British cuisine and to raise money for charity.

Jack Straw, leader of the House of Commons, graced the event as Chief Guest.

Birmingham's 'Royal Al Faisal', specialising in Kashmiri cuisine, took second place in the epicurean contest while 'B Raj Tandoori' at Fraserburgh in Scotland finished third.

'Bombay Dreams' in the Brent South constituency and 'The Tandoori Parlour' in Castle Point also featured as highly commended restaurants.

"The UK's love affair with curry has come a long way," Vaz said, adding that the over 9,500 South Asian restaurants had brought about a sea change in British eating habits and contributed a great deal to the country's economy.

The entries were judged by celebrity chefs and presenters Lloyd Grossman and Ainsley Harriott, event management expert Teji Singh, Bollywood actor Saeed Jaffrey and Nina Wadia from the British television show 'Goodness Gracious Me'.

"The UK has a love affair with curry and Pembrokeshire is no exception. I am delighted that our local Indian restaurant has emerged as the Curry King on a national stage," said Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb, who had nominated Taj Mahal for the contest.

A raffle organised on the occasion raised over 1,500 pounds for two charities - the Roko Cancer Appeal and TB Alert.

Entrepreneur A P S Chawla established the Roko Cancer Appeal five years ago to raise funds for the fight against breast cancer. The charity introduced the first mobile breast cancer detection unit in Amritsar last year.

The other beneficiary of the raffle, TB Alert, is the only charity organisation helping fight the disease both in India and the UK.

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H S Rao in London
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