The Bradford-born curry house has caught our eye over the past few weeks, so much so that we have decided to give them the spotlight in our hall of fame…
Bradford has long been named the ‘curry capital’ for its thriving array of authentic Indian restaurants, however, one in particular has been shining brightly recently. For the past 25 years, Jinnah restaurant, named after the founder of Pakistan, has been attracting customers from all over the country, specialising in traditional Kashmiri Indian cuisine in all six of its restaurants in the Yorkshire region.
In late 2019 Jinnah’s CEO Mr Saleem Akhtar was called down to London for the Asian Food and Restaurant Awards after judges posing as mystery diners carried out an undercover taste test on Asian restaurants across England. The night ended in great spirits for the business as Mr Akhtar scooped two prestigious awards from the ceremony.
As the Telegraph and Argus reported, the three branches believed to be tested on were those in York, Harrogate and Bradford. Ambience, customer service, flavours and the quality of food were all essential parts of the taste tests that the mystery diners gave a big thumbs-up.
Held at the Hilton Hotel in London, Mr Akhtar not only received the national title of group of the year award but also the award for regional restaurant of the year!
On the night of the awards, Mr Akhtar became overwhelmed with his prizes and humbly compared himself to other restaurant groups – “No way I could have dreamt of getting the group award. Aagrah’s bigger than me, Akbar’s bigger than me.
“I’m really chuffed to bits. I thank all my customers and all my staff who did the hard work with me to achieve this with me.”
And the restaurateur’s hard work and dedication does not stop at his business. The Telegraph and Argus also reported earlier this year that Mr Akhtar has helped build new homes for families affected by the Kashmiri earthquake, which happened on September 24th last year, injuring 300 and taking the lives of 19 people.
Looking to change the lives of the poorest families affected by the 5.6 magnitude earthquake, Mr Akhtar is pledging a £50,000 aid mission.
With a team of builders behind him, the restaurateur has already begun the charity work that will see some of the 16,000 homes that were demolished be restored again.
Mr Akhtar is believed to be the first British Pakistani that has helped make a start on rebuilding these people’s lives, including a family with three children who have had to wear the same clothes for over a month.
Being from Pakistan himself, Mr Akhtar has always felt a connection to his home country, including the devastating 2005 Kashmir earthquake. He explained to the Telegraph and Argus – “Even from the earthquake in 2005 – some people are still living under the open sky 16 years on. It’s always in my mind. I want to go back and help more and more.”
Mr Akhtar’s charitable work is nothing short of admirable, and it’s fantastic to see a restaurateur giving back to the people who need it most. Wine and Dine Yorkshire salutes you!