Matin Khan celebrated his Dalkeith restaurant being named one of the best in Scotland and then urged other restaurant owners in and around Midlothian to follow his lead.
Itihaas in Eskbank Road, opened just three years ago, was one of four finalists in the Best Indian category in the Scottish Restaurant of the Year Awards and was only beaten by long established Glasgow chain Balbir’s. It was the only one of 38 finalists in all categories based in Midlothian. Just one of the 38 came from East Lothian and none at all from West Lothian. More than half are based in or around Glasgow.
Around 400 guests, including some of the country’s best known restaurant owners and chefs, attended the Awards ceremony at the Glasgow Science Centre. More than 1,000 restaurants were nominated. “We’ve made tremendous progress at Itihaas in a relatively short time,” Matin said. “ Our team has had to match great skills with flair, creativity and hard work, and has shown that a Midlothian restaurant can compete with the very best. “I’d encourage other restaurants and hotels throughout the County to keep raising their standards and reach out to more guests by entering – and hopefully winning – prestigious competitions like this. Major cities like Glasgow have some great places to eat but restaurants outside them can be just as good.”
A spokeswoman for the organisers said all finalists had shown they had what it took to be successful, even in challenging economic times. “You have proved that quality will always shine through, especially when customers have more dining options than ever before,” she commented. Initial assessments in the Restaurant of the Year Awards are based on customer feedback followed by unannounced judges’ visits. Matin added: “The team and I are very grateful for the tremendous support we received from customers near and wide. It has made us more determined than ever to provide a memorable dining experience for every guest.” He added that Itihaas planned to enter the Awards next year when it would have high hopes of victory.