A KURDISH restaurant has opened in Blackburn, providing upstairs seating and traditional Middle Eastern food.

Istanbul Shawarma, which is located on Darwen Street in the heart of the town centre, is the brainchild of friends Pshtiwan Mwany and Aram Raniay.

The duo, who have lived in Blackburn for more than 10 years, used to work in factories and other takeaways before deciding to bite the bullet and open their own place.

Situated in what used to be Maroosh, Mr Mwany and Mr Raniay are also offering takeaway food at the restaurant.

Mr Mwany said: “I moved to Blackburn from the Kurdish region of northern Iraq more than 10 years ago and began working in factories and takeaways.

“But I decided to open my own shop, and we’ve been trading for around five weeks now.

“Everything is cooked fresh on the premises and we serve traditional Kurdish Shawarma as well as other Middle Eastern food.

“There is a big Kurdish population in Blackburn but we are one of the only restaurants in the town to serve this type of traditional Kurdish food, and already since opening we have been extremely busy.”

Istanbul Shawarma joins other fast food outlets on Darwen Street, but unlike many of the existing takeaways, the new establishment also caters for people who wish to dine-in, with upstairs seating to hold around 28 people.

Customer Michelle Ayres said: “It’s been open about five weeks and the food is absolutely delicious.

“Their establishment is super clean and they sell shawarmas, pizza, roast chicken, salads and soup, and the naan bread is made fresh on the premises.

“It’s a fantastic restaurant and takeaway with a seating area upstairs and the prices are reasonable too.

“It’s definitely worth a visit.”

Istanbul Shawarma is open from 11am until 10pm daily, for takeaway and to dining in.

Prices range from £2.50 for a shawarma to £7 for a full roast chicken, two naan breads and a salad.