Published: 15:01, 22 November 2021
| Updated: 16:56, 22 November 2021
A Kent takeaway has been named as the UK's best, despite only opening during lockdown.
Ambrette Kitchen in Ashford won the 'Takeaway of the year' award at the Asian Curry Awards.
The kitchen, run by Dev Biswal, was opened in town alongside a second takeaway in Dover when the pandemic hit and Mr Biswal's other restaurants were forced to close.
The owner-chef, who owns three fine dining venues under the same name in Canterbury, Margate and Rye, had never prepared a takeaway meal in his career before lockdown.
He said that trying to create takeaway versions of his renowned anglo-indian fusion was "soul destroying at first", but was quickly able to drum up business thanks to his brand's loyal following.
With demand growing, he moved to a permanent takeaway location on the Ellingham Industrial Estate, designing new menus and employing full-time drivers.
This even saw him invent the 'nizza', an Indian style pizza on a naan bread base.
The menu also includes a shoft shelled crab burger, while takeaways also offer a high tea and a gourmet Sunday roast.
The Ambrette was not the only upmarket Indian fine dining restaurant that turned to takeaways for the first-time during lockdown.
London’s Michelin-starred Benares restaurant – also a winner on the night, scooping the Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year award – has created a million-pound business with its @Home delivery and finish-at-home meal kit options.
Commenting on the award, chairman of judges Pat Chapman, editor of the Good Curry Guide, said: “I have known Dev Biswal many years and remember him telling me how he could never offer a takeaway service – he has proved himself wrong with great aplomb."