Dream comes true for owner as Northampton restaurant is named best curry house in the country

A restaurant in Northampton has been named the best curry house in the country, having won a Parliamentary competition to crown the nation's best South Asian cuisine.

Wednesday, 13th July 2016, 9:57 am
Updated Wednesday, 13th July 2016, 11:00 am
TV chef Ainsley Harriott with staff from Saffron in Northampton after winning the Tiffin Cup

Saffron, in Castilian Street, fought off competition from across the UK to win the coveted Tiffin Cup, with a cook-off for a panel of celebrity judges held in the kitchens of Bellamy’s restaurant in Westminster.

Executive chef Bodrul Islam prepared a stunning dish of ginger and lime seabass with curried lentils and pilau rice for the guest judges, who included TV chef and Strictly Come Dancing star Ainsley Harriott and House of Commons Speaker John Bercow MP.

Saffron owner Naz Islam said: “Winning the Tiffin Cup has been a dream of mine for 25 years, ever since I started working in the industry. It has been a passion to keep pushing, keep improving and keep working hard to be the best and that hard work has now paid off.

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TV chef Ainsley Harriott with staff from Saffron in Northampton after winning the Tiffin Cup

“I’m delighted for the whole team, particularly Bodrul who has now got the recognition he so richly deserves. I’m pleased for Northampton too as this really puts us on the culinary map.

“We were representing the town in the final against some of the biggest names in the business so to bring home the trophy is a fantastic achievement. It’s the equivalent of the Cobblers winning the FA Cup.”

Saffron was the first Northamptonshire restaurant to ever make it through to the national finals of the Tiffin Cup.

Last year 121 restaurants were nominated from across the country, with Saffron named as a regional runner-up, but it has now landed the national crown.

TV chef Ainsley Harriott with staff from Saffron in Northampton after winning the Tiffin Cup

Saffron was initially nominated for the Tiffin Cup by David Mackintosh, Conservative MP for Northampton South, who said: “I’m thrilled that Naz and his team have been named as the winners of this year’s Tiffin Cup. It’s a highly coveted award and is recognition of the hard work they have put in to making Saffron one of the very best restaurants around.”

The Tiffin Cup is awarded every year by the Tiffin Club of MPs, formed in 2006 by former MP John Barrett, Michael Fabricant MP and Keith Vaz MP.

The aim is not only to applaud the quality of South Asian food in Britain but also to raise much-needed money for charity. This year the competition is in aid of World Vision and Water Aid.

Tiffin Club chairman Keith Vaz MP said: “We are delighted that Saffron has beaten off stiff competition to win this year’s Tiffin Cup. This is a great tribute not only to Saffron but also to the constituency of Northampton South as a whole.”