Thanks to your nominations, we’re pleased to announce the winners of our Great Grub Awards 2013
We launched our Great Grub Awards back in March to find Britain’s best local eateries – sorting through your nominations was no easy task. But one restaurant really shone through. Congratulations to the overall winner… Prashad in Drighlington, Yorkshire.
We were bowled over by owner Bobby Patel’s passion for vegetarian Indian cuisine, and our secret taste testers were too. ‘It’s the best Indian food I’ve tasted in the UK,’ said one.
Bobby and his head chef wife Minal have been serving hungry locals for 22 years. ‘We’re thrilled,’ he said. ‘I’m pleased our hard work has paid off.’
We want to win more awards
Bobby and his wife, head chef Minal, 30, enjoy the company of their customers. ‘Laughing and connecting with them. That’s what it’s all about,’ he said.
Prashad serves food that reflects Bobby’s culture. ‘We don’t offer any English food,’ he said. ‘We’re a window to our culture and we want you to experience that.
‘We have a “Real India” section – meals in themselves traditionally eaten throughout India. So if you really want to go off-piste, trust the chef and enjoy it.’
Our secret taste testers gave Prashad 10/10 for the food. ‘The fact that it’s a vegetarian restaurant becomes irrelevant once you’ve tasted their food,’ one said.
Prashad has a ‘young curry lovers’ kids menu with dishes like mini chapattis with a zero chilli curry. ‘We’re letting kids know they’re part of the experience and it’s not just chips,’ said Bobby.
The restaurant is at the heart of the community – it even sponsors the local cricket ground and football club. ‘We try to support local businesses as much as we can,’ said Bobby.
Bobby’s goal for the future is clear. ‘We want to win more awards. We want to be synonymous with the best, so that’s our goal.’
To celebrate winning the Great Grub Award, Morrisons magazine has teamed up with Prashad to offer a free a 'roadside starter' and a bottle of Kingfisher beer with every tasting platter ordered. Just whisper 'Great Grub' to your waiter. Offer runs to the end of September 2013.
Best local Chinese
The Beijing Restaurant, Leyland, Lancashire
‘A true example of a community town centre restaurant,’ said our taste testers of The Beijing Restaurant.
This family-run restaurant prides itself on top food and good service, with staff who ‘went out of their way to advise on food and give recommendations.’
Manfai Lio, 45, has run The Beijing with his son Jacky Poon, 27, for three and a half years. The restaurant has a big local following – a loyal group of customers treat themselves to dinner at The Beijing every week.
‘I’m almost speechless to win,’ Jacky said. ‘We’ve had some great support over the last three and a half years, from locals and the council, so we’d like to say thanks to everyone for this.’
The menu offers classic Chinese dishes plus some of the chef’s unique creations. According to our taste testers, ‘the seafood was particularly good; the salt and pepper squid was undoubtedly very fresh and an excellent example of the dish.’
Visit The Beijing on Facebook
Best local Fish & Chip Shop
Hornblower’s, Gourdon, Aberdeenshire
Hornblower’s fish and chip restaurant overlooks a picturesque working harbour, where much of the seafood on the menu is landed and some of its waiters even work.
Ruth Grahame, 44, owns the restaurant with her husband Alex, 37. ‘I’m absolutely delighted to win,’ she said. ‘To get such feedback means the world.’
‘The flesh was firm and flaky and the batter had that satisfying crunch,’ said one of our secret taste testers of Hornblower’s main dish. ‘The chips held their own, too – dark golden and perfectly done.’
Ruth and Alex buy their fish from next door – ‘Alex buys the best fish that is on sale on the day, every day,’ says Ruth. ‘In the mackerel season we buy mackerel from local fishermen (which include our waiters) – they often bring in so much they can’t use it all.’
Best local Indian
The Ambrette, Margate, Kent
Since opening The Ambrette six years ago, owner Dev Biswal has been pushing the boundaries of Indian cuisine.
Our secret taste testers described The Ambrette as a ‘foodies’ paradise’ with a menu ‘packed full of exquisite flavours.’
‘We’re delighted to have won,’ owner Dev Biswal. ‘But it’s our customers who fuel our success, so I think I'll have to hand this award to them.’
Dev sources many of his ingredients from the Kent countryside – taking wild and often foraged ingredients like mushrooms and combining them with exotic spices.
Added extras such as welcome drinks and palate-cleansing sorbets are free of charge and there’s an exciting dessert menu – find chocolate samosas and a rose-flavoured vanilla crème brûlée – which our taste testers called ‘a revelation and delight.’
Dev also prides the restaurant on its local community work. ‘We hold cookery demos at schools and support our local catering college. It’s important for me to give something back.’
Best local International cuisine
Shared Olive, Hawarden, North Wales
Danny Burke has been a chef since he left school at 16. He opened Shared Olive, a Mediterranean restaurant, back in August 2011. We were impressed with his authentic food, customer service and commitment to the local community.
‘It’s a great honour to win,’ said Danny, whose aim is to change people’s opinions of Mediterranean food and tapas. ‘We thoroughly enjoy what we do, so it’s nice to be recognized.’
Our secret taste testers revealed Shared Olive to be an intimate restaurant with high standards and gave the food 10/10. One tester said, ‘The food was fresh and had been cooked perfectly by a chef who knows their stuff.’
The restaurant welcomes kids, too, and even the children’s menu is a reflection of Danny’s passion for producing authentic Mediterranean food. ‘There are no chips or nuggets, it’s all home-made food,’ he confirmed.
Danny shares his skills with students at the local catering college and even takes some of them on for work experience. ‘I train them up and mentor them. I remember how hard it was as a young chef, so I’ll always give people a chance,’ he said.
Best local Pub
The Red Lion at Thornby, Northamptonshire
Our taste tasters described The Red Lion at Thornby, with its wonderful beer garden for the summer and open fire for winter, as ‘the perfect sanctuary for any lover of the traditional country pub’.
Simon Cottle, 31, runs the pub with his wife Louise, 31. Simon was brought up nearby and used to drink at this pub himself when he was younger. ‘We aim to be a typical English pub, very unpretentious.’
‘We’re a bit shocked and really pleased people nominated us. Thanks to all the locals who eat and drink here for supporting us.’
‘We started a pub allotment and are growing things like radish, beetroot, rhubarb and runner beans,’ Simon told us. ‘The vegetables are served up to customers and made into chutneys and pickles to sell behind the bar.’
Our taste testers said they enjoyed excellent food in a ‘friendly and welcoming atmosphere’.
Best local Seafood or Grill Restaurant
Britannia @ The Beach, Beesands, Devon
The Hutchings family has fished from the same spot in Devon for an incredible 400 years.
Nick Hutchings, 51, and his wife Anita, 49, started Britannia @ The Beach in 2009, in addition to the family fishing business after their customers suggested they cook the delicious fish they bring in.
‘I’m very proud of the team, especially since we’ve been going for such a short time,’ said Anita. ‘It’s great to think local people are enjoying and supporting us.’
Most fish on the menu, including the crab, lobster and scallops, is landed from the Hutchings’ own boat. ‘All our fish is sustainable,’ said Anita. ‘The crab is potted and the fish comes from day boats.’
They also serve up some more unusual dishes, such as cuttlefish and skate cheeks. ‘We try to encourage people to try different things. Usually skate cheeks are discarded but we serve them up. They’re really delicious.’
Described by our secret taste testers as an ‘unspoilt gem’, Britannia @ The Beach serves up ‘the freshest of fish, caught the same day, cooked to perfection’, all in front of fantastic views of the sea.
Eat Me Café, Scarborough
Martin Hyde and Stephen Dinardo have been serving up ‘Yorkshire-sized portions for greasy spoon prices’ for the past two years and impressed us with their quirky, innovative menu and passion for producing quality food.
Our taste testers rated the café highly on the variety and flavour of dishes on their extensive menu, which includes light bites, breakfast and hearty lunches, and applauded Martin and Stephen for their commitment to sourcing quality, traceable ingredients.
‘We’re transparent in every shape and form and our customers know they can trust us,’ said Martin. ‘We make everything to order and use as much local, free range and outdoor-reared produce as we can.’
‘We’re always trying to introduce the people of Scarborough to new things,’ added Stephen. ‘We offer classic dishes with a unique twist such as mac and cheese with Japanese panko breadcrumbs.’
And it’s not just the food that’s home-made – the pair also lovingly made all the furniture in the café themselves, including the bar and tables. They also donate corkage fees from customers’ wine and beer to support their local theatre.
‘We’d like to thank our customers and suppliers for their support,’ says Stephen. ‘We’re just trying to be something different and offer quality over price.’