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Rajdani named Best Indian in South_east

Rajdani named Best Indian in South_east


A Kent curry house, The Rajdani in West Kingsdown near Sevenoaks, has been named as the Best Indian Restaurant in the South East at the Asian Curry Awards 2017. The family-run restaurant which celebrates its 20th anniversary next year and owner Rob Khan promises to lay on a night to remember to commemorate the landmark.

“We are indebted to our loyal customers who nominated us for this prestigious award, making sure we made the shortlist to showcase the talents of our head chef Jimmi Shah and his hard-working team,” said Rob, adding “Kent is home to some excellence Asian restaurants, so to be judged best of the bunch is high praise indeed.”

The Rajdani was in excellent company during the glittering awards ceremony, with internationally famous London venues scooping other top accolades, including Michelin-starred and Quilon.

The Asian Curry Awards recognise the best in the industry, encouraging ever higher standards and to inspire the next generation of chefs and restaurateurs to join the dynamic sector.

The restaurant, which was opened by Rob’s father, Abdul, and cousin Suna Miah, two decades ago takes its name from the Bengali term for ‘Capital City.’ In days gone by, the finest spices and other culinary ingredients could only be sourced together in the capital’s food markets. So this was where the best chefs and restaurants chefs were found. Today, ‘Rajdani’ is more commonly used as the colloquial Bengali term for ‘town’.

Located just a few hundred yards from Brands Hatch motor sports circuit, The Rajdani, a roomy 100-seater venue with al fresco tables and a large private car park, attracts customers from around the country on event days.

It offers contemporary Indian dishes, with short, changing menu to appeal to all tastes. The chefs are currently developing a gourmet menu which will be released in the New Year, with a greater choice of fish, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan dishes.

A strong wine list includes Chablis, Pouilly Fumé, Chateau Neuf du Pape, plus Bollinger and Moet et Chandon champagnes. Beers include the authentic Indian import – Goa Premium Beer – which is gluten-free.

The Rajdani is open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week and kick start the weekend with live music every Friday night.


Googies Withers

Googies Withers


An award-winning Kent restaurant has closed. Googies Art Cafe in Folkestone owners Keith Holland and Steve Rees blamed a “downturn in business” along with “personal family issues.” The restaurant has been operating on Rendezvous Street near the town’s creative quarter for the 8 years.

Googies won Kent Restaurant of the Year at the Taste of Kent Awards in 2016 and made the finals of the National Burger Awards this year.



Kent Restaurants Shamed

Kent Restaurants Shamed


Ten Kent food service companies have given the lowest possible hygiene rating – zero - by the Food Standards Agency, because of "serious concerns about the venues' food safety and cleanliness and urgent improvement is necessary."

Among those with the lowest possible rating is The David Copperfield restaurant in Westwood Road, Broadstairs. Inspectors said major improvement is necessary in all areas, including food handling, cleanliness and condition of its facilities, and the management of food safety.

Kyoto Sushi & Grill Ramsgate High Street also has a zero star rating. Inspectors have recommended it raise its food handling standards and cleanliness, and urgently improve the management of food safety.

The Shere Punjab restaurant in Northfleet is one of the latest to be added to the zero rated list. Inspectors demanded "major improvement" the cleanliness and condition of the facilities and building, including having the appropriate hand washing facilities and pest control. The management have also been advised to make "urgent improvement" to food safety, including making sure checks are in place to ensure food is safe to eat and educating staff about food safety.

Pars Supermarket in Maidstone has been told it needs major improvement in the cleanliness and condition of its facilities.
Inspectors also called for changes to the Bank Street retailer's hygienic handling of food including preparation, cooking, re-heating, cooling and storage. It was ordered to ensure a system or checks were put in place to ensure food sold or served was safe to eat and educate its staff about food safety.

An inspection at Roosters Peri Peri, in Church Street, Chatham, identified the need for major improvement of cleanliness and condition of its facilities. It also called for urgent changes to ensure food sold was safe to eat and staff food safety training

Perfect Fried Chicken, in Gillingham High Street, was also been given a zero star rating, following an inspection on 8th August. Food safety officers said it requires "urgent improvement" to cleanliness and the condition of its facilities and also its management of food safety.

Management at New Happy Palace takeaway, in Canterbury Street, Gillingham, have been told to improve its hygienic food handling, urgently address cleanliness and the condition of its facilities, and raise the standard of its management of food safety.

Cheriton Balti & Tandoori Take Away, in Cheriton High Street, has also been ordered to improve its food handling procedures and warned major changes are needed to the cleanliness and condition of its facilities and management of food safety.

Other zero-rated food outlets are Euro Foods in Chatham High Street and India House restaurant in Dover High Street.

David Brown, food and safety team leader at Medway Council, said there are several reasons why a food outlet can end up with a zero rating: "Generally a premises would be rated zero if the officer had serious concerns about the way food is prepared on the premises,” he said.

There are three main areas officers look at during a food hygiene inspection: food hygiene and safety procedures and practices (how the food is prepared, stored and cooked); the structure of the premises (is it clean, is it in good condition, are they able to keep outvermin; how confident they are in the food safety management of the businesses and whether they have been given advice in the past and whether they have taken that advic).

Brown said most food outlets have standards which are far higher than the minimum required by law and every business should be capable of getting a five-star rating.

"It shouldn't be reliant on the inspectors telling the business what to do, the business should be telling the inspectors what they're doing because they should be taking control and ownership of food hygiene. The way the scheme is designed all premises should be capable of getting a five every time and if they are not there are some issues that need to be addressed. It is not looking for perfection it is just looking generally that that business is doing a good job,” he added.

A new law forcing restaurants and food outlets to display their food hygiene ratings on the front of their premises is due to come into force in 2019.


Curry Kings

Curry Kings


Over 1,000 VIP guests attended a glittering gala dinner at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on Sunday 12th November, to honour the winners of the 7th Asian Curry Awards.

The awards were presented by BBC Master Chef’s Greg Wallace and BBC and former Sky TV news anchor Samantha Simmons.

Michelin-starred Benares’ Atul Kochhar was named Chef of the Year. Another Michelin-starred establishment, Quilon scooped the Asian Fine Dining award. Kricket was feted as Best Newcomer.

There was a Special Recognition Award for Asma Khan, whose new all-female brigade at Darjeeling Express has received widespread critical acclaim.

Outside London, The Chilli Pickle in Brighton was named Best Causal Dining Restaurant, Lemon Grass Best Chain and Greenleaf the Best Outsider Caterer and The Rajdani near Sevenoaks the Best Asian Restaurant in the South East.

In his keynote speech awards organiser ACF chairman Yawar Khan acknowledged the problems facing Asian restaurant owners, but highlighted the success of those willing to embrace change, raise standards, update menus, invest in marketing and stop competing on price.

“We are in a growing market. More people are eating out and ordering takeaways than ever before. Yes, curry restaurants are closing every week. But the best will survive and thrive. There will be those that complain and do nothing. Then there will also be those that continue in innovate and raise standards,” said Khan.

The next ACF event is the Asian Restaurant Awards, being held in Manchester on 12th February.



Anti Curry Landord Faces Fine

Anti Curry Landord Faces Fine


The UK equality watchdog is seeking an injunction against buy-to-let mogul Fergus Wilson after he told his letting agent to ban “coloured” tenants because they left curry smells in his properties.

Wilson, who at one time owned almost 1,000 homes across Ashford and Maidstone in Kent, emailed a local letting agency, Evolution, saying: “No coloured people because of the curry smell at the end of the tenancy.”

At the time, Rebecca Hilsenrath, the chief executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), called the remarks “truly disgusting ... as well as being unlawful instructions from a landlord to a letting agent”.

In a case in front of Maidstone county court, the EHRC will ask the court “if it agrees with us that Mr Wilson’s lettings policy contains unlawful criteria and, if so, to issue an injunction”.

An unrepentant Wilson said he would vigorously fight the legal action, insisting he was not a racist.

Speaking before the hearing, Wilson said: “All the local people here agree with me. It’s perfectly legal not to buy a house because you think it smells of curry ... if you are in Ashford and Maidstone, 99% of the population are not from India or Pakistan.

The problem is that if you have a £250,000 mid-terrace house, the valuation drops by £50,000 if it smells of curry.”

The property tycoon, who previously announced the £250m sale of his empire but said the process was taking a long time, will be representing himself in court.

He said his defence would be based partly on his claim that no one had been affected by his letting criteria, as he had not had a request to rent from an Indian or Pakistani person for many years.

“I take in a disproportionately high number of black tenants. I’m not against coloured people. I’m not against Pakistani people. I’m friendly with an awful lot of Pakistani landlords. At property auctions everyone asks me to be on their table. By chance, I’ve had some Gurkhas, and I’m very proud they have been tenants of mine. They do not leave any resididual smells of curry cooking afterwards. This has got nothing to do with the colour of someone’s skin,” he said.

When the EHRC began its legal action, it said Wilson’s letting criterion of “no coloured people” was direct discrimination on the grounds of race, breaching section 13 of the Equality Act 2010.

If the court grants an injunction, and Wilson complied, it said “nothing more will happen. However, if he breaches the injunction and continues to apply the discriminatory criterion, this could be contempt of court which could result in a fine.” 

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