A CAFE offering a little taste of North Africa in Blackburn has whetted the appetites of national culinary judges.

Ahmed Morse and the Taiba Inn, in Limbrick, have been nominated in the world cuisine category for the north at the sixth annual Food Awards England.

He will find out whether he has been successful when the finals take place at the Mercure Manchester Piccadilly Hotel.

Egyptian-born Ahmed, who has been offering traditional Arabic fare for more than two-and-a-half years, is up against an impressive array of rivals.

Bem Brasil, Chaophraya and Fazenda, all in Manchester, The Fig Bistro in Southport, Ormskirk's Turquaz Turkish BBQ and The Apple Core in Bedford have also been nominated.

He told the Lancashire Telegraph: "It's great that someone has recognised what we have been trying to do here.

"The organisers said that they had conducted surveys and people had commented not only on our food but our customer service, which is second to none."

To start with, Ahmed was offering leaner grilled chicken and lamb shawarmas, for the more health-conscious diner.

But one of his signature dishes is authentic tagine cooked specials, with lamb, seafood and vegetarian options, washed down with mint tea, which must be ordered the day beforehand so the dish can be properly prepared.

Earlier this year the venue, decorated in the Arabic style, also opened up a women's only lounge. Ahmed also travels regularly to Morocco and North Africa seeking fresh inspiration.