An Indian restaurant in Barnoldswick has been named as a top UK restaurant, after winning best restaurant of the year at an awards ceremony.

Barlick Raj Balti, based in Station Road, received the accolade at the Curry Life Awards 2023, held at a ceremony in London’s West End.

Owner Habib Ullah said he was thrilled to have won.

He said: “Our heads are still spinning after the win. I feel joy after 12 years of hard work,

“[It just shows] that there’s always light at the end of the tunnel especially after we nearly shut our doors for good.

“We’re thrilled to have won this award because it shows people like our food and that it’s of a high standard.

"We’re so grateful to everyone who supports us because, without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

The awards, which celebrate the best of the best in the UK's multi-billion-pound curry industry, were held on October 15, and attracted an audience of more than 500, including beer magnate Lord Karan Bilimoria, who founded Cobra Beer, and representatives from headline sponsor Just Eat.

Habib works in partnership with his brother, Muhibur Rahman, the restaurant's head chef, who has more than 30 years’ experience.

To develop the business, Habib and his brother travel to India to network and learn from top chefs about ingredients and ways to improve their food.

They credit their success to their customers, who they have got to know personally over the years and their staff, who tailor customers’ requests to exactly what they need.

Habib said chefs visited India last year where they received additional training.

Habib said: “Our chefs recently visited India, where they had additional training with master chefs and learned new recipes.

“We’re always adding new dishes to the menu.

“We have a unique buffet system it’s always fresh and the customers love it. We treat our customers with respect and like family.”

Customer favourites are garlic chilli chicken and the all-you-can-eat buffet that is available on Sundays.

Lancashire Telegraph: Barlick Raj Balti team win best restaurant of the year at the Curry Life Awards 2023Barlick Raj Balti team win best restaurant of the year at the Curry Life Awards 2023 (Image: Barlick Raj Balti)

The Curry Life Awards 2023 celebrated the elite in the UK's multi-billion-pound curry industry and featured 44 awards across five categories.

Speaking at the Awards, Lord Karan Bilimoria said: “I congratulate the award winners. Everyone who was on the stage has made sacrifices and worked hard.

"Your achievements inspire all of us, particularly younger people, to aspire and achieve themselves.”

Paul Scully, minister for London, tech and the digital economy, who was also at the event, said: “These awards help to inspire the next generation.

"It is through innovation that you are going to succeed. Make sure you are innovating and changing for a changing environment.”

Rushanara Ali, shadow minister for investment and small business, speaking about the curry industry at the Awards, added: “Aspiration, ambition and tireless hard work is what has built this extraordinary industry.

"Congratulations to all the award nominees and winners.”

The 14th edition of the Awards, which took place at the London Marriott, Grosvenor Square, was presented by broadcaster and television presenter Lucrezia Millarini.

The event was also an occasion to mark an additional celebration, as 2023 is the 20th anniversary year of Curry Life magazine, the promoter of the Awards.

The awards night, supported by Just Eat, also highlighted the curry industry's tenacity, which has survived despite the pandemic and cost of living crisis.

Speaking at the Awards, Matt Hopper, head of partner and courier marketing at Just Eat, said: “Just Eat is once again honoured to be sponsoring the Curry Life Awards.

"We’re all here to celebrate success and the hard work you and your teams put in.

“We’re here to celebrate how delicious your food is and how much your business has grown and to applaud what you do for your local communities.

"It’s been Just Eat’s honour to sponsor the Curry Life Awards as we are only successful when our partners are successful. We commend all of the winners.”

The Awards were created by brothers Syed Pasha and Syed Ahmed, who came to the UK from Bangladesh in the 1970s and were surprised by the British appetite for curry.

They launched Curry Life magazine 20 years ago, and the debut awards were held in 2009. The brothers also organise an annual British curry festival promoting Angrezi (English) curry worldwide.

Speaking at the Awards, Syed Pasha said: "From our humble beginnings, here we are today, the voice of a billion-pound, entrepreneurial and innovative industry, and one which contributes significantly to the UK economy.

“We travelled thousands of miles this year visiting restaurants up and down the country, and it made me realise precisely why the curry industry will not only survive, but also thrive.

"It is the sheer determination, hard work, and a positive attitude from employees and employers alike and their sheer commitment to what they do.”