One of Bradford’s oldest and most beloved restaurants is battling it out to be named as one of Britain’s best takeaways on BBC Two’s newest show.
Radio DJ and presenter Sarah Cox and comedian Darren Harriot are hosting the aptly named Britain’s Top Takeaways where each week, five businesses will compete to win the accolade of being the best takeaway in their category.
The second episode will see five South Asian restaurants prepare their best dishes to compete in an epic battle of the spices.
Waqar Ali Mughal and assistant chef Hamayun ‘Mayo’ Arshad of the Sweet Centre, one of the oldest curry houses in the district that still exists today, are waving the flag for Bradford, competing against mother and son duo Paula and Stevie who run Sabzi in Edinburgh, married couple Swati and Karthikk, who gave up their high-flying careers to start their business, Curry on Naanstop, representing the North East is Shah and Gaurav of My Delhi in Newcastle, and mother and daughter Hasmita and Sivani, who run the Indians Next Door in London.
Judging the South Asian cuisine and deciding who wins will be a host of ordinary takeaway-loving families who will eat, rate, and score the food from the comfort of their own homes, and guest judges, Manchester Village Sports Rugby Club.
Mr Mughal, current owner, manager, and head chef of the Sweet Centre and the grandson of the co-founder of the restaurant, said: “It was super intense competing on the show. It was an honour to work among the best in the country. Just being there and participating in the show was massive for Bradford and massive for West Yorkshire.
“It was humbling to be handpicked to be a part of such a beautiful show. The hosts were brilliant, Sarah Cox and Darren Harriot, especially Sarah as a northern lass as she knew about the cuisine.”
The Sweet Centre was established in 1964 and is one of the oldest curry houses in Bradford, being beaten to the post by Kashmir in 1950 and Karachi in 1958.
Opened by brothers Haji Abdul Rehman and Mohamed Bashir in 1964, who were later joined by their youngest brother, Abdul Aziz in the 1970s, the Sweet Centre began as a halal butchers’ shop, being quickly expanded into a grocery store before the brothers decided to buy 110 Lumb Lane and transform it into a café and the restaurant that we know today.
Mr Mughal was brought up around the restaurant all of his life but started to get involved with the restaurant seriously at the age of eighteen. For the past decade, Mr Mughal has worked as head chef with Mr Arshad at his side, who has been involved with the business for “many, many years”.
The duo created around six or seven dishes on the show, including a meat curry, a vegetarian curry, a side dish, and sundries, although they kept exactly what they cooked tight to their chest to be revealed when the show airs on tv next Tuesday.
Assistant chef, Mio Arshad, said: “We were selected to represent Yorkshire after going through various stages and demonstrations. On the show, we competed against people from Scotland, London, and other parts of the UK.
“Waqar summed it up well, being on the show was a brilliant experience. We were up against some of the best chefs from across the country who are committed to improving the South Asian food industry in the UK.”
Mr Mughal added: “I regard Mio as my uncle. I have learned so much from him and we bounce ideas off each other. We call ourselves Little and Large as he is a towering six-foot, and I am shorter than him. He likes to cook biriyani and I like to cook meat cooked on the bone. I would say he is the better chef out of both of us.”
Tune in at 8pm on Tuesday, 10 May 2022 to find out whether the Sweet Centre is crowned as one of Britain’s Top Takeaways.