Scotland’s top curry restaurant is to give out free food to those on the pandemic front line.

Matin Khan, who runs two restaurants on the outskirts of Edinburgh, has been named the UK’s top curry chef by the industry’s trade magazine.

Executive Chef of Itihaas in Dalkeith and The Radhuni in Loanhead, he was given the accolade on Sunday 15 October in front of an audience of 500 at the Curry Life Awards at the Marriott Grosvenor House Hotel in London’s Mayfair.

In a double triumph for Scotland, Radhuni was awarded the title of the UK’s best curry restaurant.

Since Matin opened the 80 seat Itihaas in 2007 its titles have included Scotland’s Curry Chef of the Year, Best South Asian Restaurant, and Restaurant of the Year in the Midlothian and East Lothian Chamber of Commerce Awards.

His son Habibur, who accepted the award on his behalf, has managed Radhuni since it opened in 2011. At the age of 23 in 2019 he became the youngest person to win a major award in the British Curry Awards.

The audience at the awards, which celebrate the best of the UK’s multi-billion-pound curry industry, included Minister for London Paul Scully, former UK Health Secretary Baroness Virginia Bottomley, her MP husband Sir Peter (longest serving Member of the House of Commons), four other MPs and Lord Karan Bilimoria, founder of Cobra Beer and a former President of the Confederation of British Industry. The event was hosted by ITV news presenter Lucrezia Millarini.

A chef for over 40 years, Matin was born in Bangladesh.  After his family moved to Cambridge when he was a teenager, he began honing his cooking skills in the family home.

“It’s a great honour to be described as the finest curry chef in the United Kingdom,” he commented. “There are so many wonderful chefs working in thousands of restaurants all over the country that I am truly humbled and very proud. My emphasis has always been on developing authentic recipes and working with the finest kitchen and front of house staff.”

The 120-seat Radhuni (its name means ‘passionate cook’) is one of only three Indian-style restaurants in Scotland to have been awarded an AA Rosette for culinary excellence.

Regularly placed in the British Curry Awards’ “Hot 100”, it was named Scottish Curry Restaurant of the Year in 2020 and 2021 and in July this year took the same title in the Scottish Restaurant Awards.

Habibur Khan commented: “These are remarkable achievements for my father and the restaurants he established. His legacy is assured. Helped by my father’s guidance, the team at Radhuni have worked tirelessly and with great skill to create a constantly first class dining experience. We are overwhelmed by this latest honour.”

Curry Life magazine reaches 10,000 Indian, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, Nepalese and Pakistani restaurants serving millions of customers a year.

The ‘curry industry’ is said to account for two thirds of all eating out in the UK. Indian-style restaurants get through more than 200,000 tonnes of rice a year.

The offer by Radhuni, at Loanhead on the outskirts of Edinburgh, and its sister restaurant Itihaas in nearby Dalkeith includes teachers, postmen and women, delivery drivers and supermarket staff as well as police, fire brigade and ambulance workers, NHS staff and care workers.

The curry and rice dishes will also be given to people employed elsewhere in the hospitality industry which has been especially badly hit by national lockdowns.

Instead of spending or saving the money themselves, the restaurants are using a new Government grant to fund the distribution.

The food plus a soft drink will be handed out from the restaurants next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 12, 13 and 14 January between 12 and 2 pm and 4.30 and 9.30 pm on production of valid ID. There will be a vegetarian option.

Last year the two Indian-Bangladeshi restaurants donated £10,000 worth of free meals to NHS and emergency workers and care home staff. They have also been raising money for national charity Children 1st by donating 25p from every takeaway.

Radhuni’s Managing Partner, 24-year-old Habibur Khan, became the youngest person to take home one of the major British Curry Awards last year when Radhuni was named Scotland’s best curry restaurant. Last month he was also given the organisation’s Scottish Award for Most Outstanding Service during the pandemic.

“The past nine months have been tough going for restaurants throughout the UK,” he commented. “Radhuni and Itihaas have already recognised the enormous efforts of our pandemic front line heroes and heroines in practical ways but felt we needed to go even further by giving them more nourishment to help keep up their energy and strength.”

The Radhuni is at 93 Clerk Street, Loanhead EH20 9RE (Em: info@theradhuni.co.uk, tel. 0131 440 3566) and Itihaas is at 17-19 Eskbank Road, Dalkeith EH22 1HD (Emn: info@itihaasrestaurant.com, tel. 0131 663 9800).

ENDS

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Indian Restaurant Edinburgh

17-19 Eskbank Road, Dalkeith, EH22 1HD | 0131 663 9800

Monday – Thursday || 12pm-2pm || 5pm-10:30pm
Friday – Sunday || 12pm-2pm || 4:30pm-10:30pm
Closed Tuesday

17-19 Eskbank Road, Dalkieth, EH22 1HD
0131 663 9800

Monday – Thursday || 12pm-2pm || 5pm-10:30pm
Friday – Sunday || 12pm-2pm || 4:30pm-10:30pm
Closed Tuesday

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