So it was an absolute honour to be invited by Love Belfast to the first Irish Curry Awards taking place in the very nice Ramada Plaza Hotel in Belfast. Across the 4 provinces of the Island, teams of judges have tried and tested restaurants, takeaways and curry houses of various Asian cuisines, and, along with the public vote, whittled them down to a shortlist of finalists.
The event itself was a very grand affair. Black tie attire, smart suits and glamourous gowns everywhere. there was a real buzz in the room as the crowd gathered, made up of chefs, restauranteurs and teams from the nominated finalists. TV and radio presenters, journalists, fellow bloggers and many many more.
We were first treated to a Cobra Beer and Tanqueray Gin pop up bar, 2 of the awards’ sponsors, a great start to the night already. After taking our seats in the Great Ballroom, Pamela Ballantine our host for the evening, first of all introduced Ali Askir, the man behind the Irish Curry Awards.
Owner of Safa Restaurant in Belfast he wanted to pay tribute to indian cuisine in Ireland. The places and the people. Next came renowned food writer Joris Minne, head of the Ulster judging panel. Paul O’Connor, all Ireland head judge was next and finally Sarah Quinlan from Children’s Heartbeat Trust, the night’s chosen charity.
Entertainment was next in the form of some very impressive Indian dancing, and then to dinner. Poppadoms, dips and chutneys followed by beautiful aromatic chicken tikka. A main of lamb bhuna, my favourite meat done a way I’d not yet tried but I loved it. Dessert was gulab jamun with mango kulfi. A first for me this is a sticky deep.fried dough ball. sweet yet light it was a great way to finish of the meal.
Back to Pamela Ballantine and the awards ceremony itself. Each of the winners was completely thrilled to receive their award. Recognition for their hard work and talent.
The night was a great success and a perfect way to celebrate Indian cuisine.Congrats to Ali the organisers, everyone involved and of course the winners.
For a list of the award winners head to the Irish Curry Awards Facebook page.