The Darjeeling in Farnham has been shortlisted for the best restaurant in the south east category at the coveted British Curry Awards.
The awards were dubbed the ‘curry Oscars’ by former prime minister David Cameron.
They are the UK’s leading award ceremony to honour the nation’s top curry restaurants, as voted for by the British public.
The 18th annual ceremony will be held on Monday (November 28) at Evolution London in Battersea Park.
The awards come as the UK curry industry – which has survived crippling staff shortages and the pandemic – now faces further uncertainty with the energy and cost of living crises and amid rising inflation.
With spiralling costs, it is estimate the average price of a curry could reach as much as £30 – and industry leaders fear it could lead to the closure of thousands of curry restaurants across the UK.
Curry restaurateurs have seen their shopping bills increase by an average of 40 per cent.
The price of oil alone has increased by more than 100 per cent, while the cost of other curry house essentials such as a 25kg sack of onions has now doubled to more than £14.50.
The situation is unsustainable for the industry as curry houses are desperately trying to minimise off-setting these costs against menu pricing, as households are facing tightened budgets themselves.
The spice business ‘Onion Bhaji Index’ indicates the average cost of an onion bhaji in the UK will jump from £4 to £12 per portion, while rising inflation means the average price of curry house favourite, the chicken tikka masala, would rise from an average menu price of £7 to £17, which diners are simply unable to afford.
Add to that soaring energy bills, it is estimated around seven in ten restaurants could be forced to shut their doors for good without government intervention.
Jeffrey Ali, director of the British Curry Awards, said: “This year’s British Curry Awards marks the first year without our founder, Enam Ali MBE. For decades, he tirelessly dedicated his life towards promoting and championing the UK curry industry.
“While the international community, especially the UK, faces a continued onslaught of economic uncertainty and political instability, we take solace from the public who continue to support local businesses such as their local curry restaurants.
“Our goal is to promote the best in Britain, bringing real value to our nation’s customers.
“We have received tens of thousands of nominations this year and look forward to announcing the results of our months-long judging process and live vote due to be held at the biggest and most anticipated ceremony on the hospitality calendar.”