A South Woodford eatery has been shortlisted for the Asian Restaurant Awards 2021.
Grand Trunk Road, an Indian restaurant in High Road, will be visited by judges from Asian Catering Federation (ACF), which hosts the event.
The national awards are open to restaurants of all Asian cuisines and the winners will be announced at a gala dinner and presentation ceremony organised at the Mercure Piccadilly on Tuesday August 31.
Rajesh Shuri, owner of Grand Trunk Road, said: “It’s a wonderful feeling that the hard work of my team, my chefs and my floor staff has been recognised.
“After this tough time we’ve been through, winning an award would be an amazing present to all of us. I can’t thank enough our diners who have voted for us to get to this level.
Stone bass from the Grand Trunk Road in South Woodford, whose menu is inspired by the historic trade route of the same name – Credit: Grand Trunk Road.
More than 100,000 online votes from members of the public determined the finalists.
The restaurant opened in November 2016 and Rajesh said “we haven’t had a dull moment since”.
It has been in the Michelin Guide and The Good Food Guide for four years, and won numerous awards.
“The name of the restaurant is the concept of the restaurant,” explained Rajesh.
The restaurant aims to provide a “food journey” of the Grand Trunk Road, a centuries old trade route running around 1600 miles across Asia.
Rajesh said: “I have travelled on the whole of Grand Trunk Road over five weeks, collecting all the original recipes.
“It’s all traditional, classic recipes from the royal palaces, from the roadside snacks.
“Our menu is based on the Grand Trunk trade route and the old traditional methods of cooking have been adapted to an extent where we could bring those original, subtle, classical flavours to our food.
“People don’t have to go to central London or to Mayfair to find this high-quality Indian food.”
ACF chairman Yawar Khan said: “The pandemic has been devastating for many hospitality businesses and its workers.”
He added that the awards would acknowledge the sector’s “resilience, innovation and generosity” in a period where many switched to selling finish-at-home meal kits, operating pop-up delivery kitchens based in locked down pubs, or switching from Michelin-star fine dining to offering takeaways.