Akbar’s officially opened in Blackburn town centre with an extravagant VIP party.

Guests were welcomed to the plush new restaurant by stilt performers, fire-breathers, Bollywood singers and a row of multi-coloured supercars.

The black-tie opening on Thursday was attended by the Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen Cllr Parwaiz Akhtar and Blackburn MP Kate Hollern, who was joined by councillors and local business personalities, as well as Akbar’s guests from across the region.

The renowned chain of Indian restaurants is taking up the location inside the former Blakey’s Café and EastZEast spot at King George’s Hall.

Akbar’s already has sites in Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Birmingham.

The interior of the site been completely renovated and now includes a row of smaller individual booths and a colourful décor.

The restaurant is fully licensed and is one of only two in the town centre Asian restaurants serving alcohol to guests, the other being the Thira in Darwen Street.

Lancashire Telegraph: Akbar’s owner, Shabir Hussain with council leader Phil Riley at the restaurant

Lancashire Telegraph:

The venue has a seating capacity of 120 with a VIP room for ‘special gatherings’.

Akbar’s owner, Shabir Hussain, has been overseeing the opening of the new restaurant and said to have carefully planned every last detail of its £400,000 transformation.

He said: “At Akbar’s, we’re proud to serve very traditional, rustic and wholesome Indian dishes in what is likely to be the best atmosphere you’ll find in any restaurant around.

“I’d had my eye on Blackburn for some time and when the opportunity came up, I knew we could do something exceptional here – something that will bring in people from miles around.

“It really is important to me to create the best-looking restaurants with the best décor and the best lighting.

“I back that up by ensuring that we have experienced staff who offer exceptional customer service.

“And, of course, at the centre of it all, is our food and, that’s where the Akbar’s name really does speak for itself.”

Shabir will have a team of 35 staff running the restaurant, of which 20 will be recruited locally.