The much-awaited Bradford Curry Awards is back with its fourth edition on 10 July. More than 200 establishments competed for the coveted title to be the Best of the Best 2023, with around 30 making it to the finals, in nine categories, ranging from best restaurant, eatery, caterer and best marketing.
Each day, we hope to introduce you to a finalist, so you can find out more about their food and their journey as a finalist. We introduce to our finalist, Lala’s, competing for the Best Restaurant category.
The category, will look into an all-round experience of the restaurant, including food, ambience, presentation, and experience.
Mr Rashid, who runs Lala’s Bradford, looks back at the 20 years of Lala’s legacy, “The usual Lala’s started almost 20 odd years ago. The Bradford franchise opened in 2009. The restaurant represents our family in Bradford, it became quite well known, and then from there, it took off really well.
“Overall, these 20 years have been a rollercoaster. There have been hard times as well, we still continued. This is all we know, my grandfather was in it, my father was in it, now I started it at a very young age. Where this has come to is, there was a time it was merely known as curry houses, now it is known as a restaurant. People now, actually go and appreciate desi food and authentic Kashmiri cuisine. It has come a long way.”
The word Lala, where the name Lala’s is derived from is considered a very respectful title in South Asia, particularly India and Pakistan. The word Lala signifies someone you consider an elder brother, a role model, or an inspiration.
Lala’s too has faced a brunt of the brutal pandemic that swept the globe and hit the hospitality industry hard.
Mr Rashid explains the challenges he had to face during the pandemic: “It was really tough, something we had never seen in our lives. We had just opened a new restaurant in January 2020, and the pandemic hit in March. We had spent a lot of money on it, so yes it was very challenging. It was an eye-opener for us.”
Speaking through the menu, and speciality dishes by Lala’s, Mr Rashid said: “We have a section called the traditional desi speciality, all dishes in that section are homestyle cooking. The likes of meat and okra, paya nihari, there are a lot of traditional dishes. The main dish I would recommend is the karahi chicken keema mix, which is a mix of chicken karahi and mincemeat.”
On being asked what the title of ‘Best Restaurant’ would mean for Lala’s, Mr Rashid said: “Hopefully, if I do receive that, I have worked really hard, even my team has worked tirelessly. We have served good food and provided good service. To be recognised for this, for the hard work will be a great achievement. It shows that you are being appreciated, and that would mean a lot.”
Will Lala’s hit the jackpot and gain the ‘Best Restaurant’ title at the prestigious Bradford Curry Awards?
It will all come down to 10 July, when the winners will be announced. So, till, then, hold your breaths and watch this space.