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Raja Raid

Raja Raid


A raid at The Raja of Kent restaurant in High Halden, near Tenterden in Kent, has resulted in two workers being detained by immigration authorities.

Acting on intelligence, immigration enforcement officers visited the restaurant on Biddenden Road at about 8pm on Friday, 15th September.

Two Bangladeshi men aged 27 and 28, had overstayed their visas, while a 42-year-old Indian man was found to have entered the UK illegally.

Both Bangladeshi nationals were detained, while steps are taken to remove them from the country. The Indian man must report to immigration enforcement while his case is heard.

The restaurant was served a civil penalty referral notice in relation to illegal workers, which could result in a fine of £20,000 per illegal worker, a potential total of £60,000, if the employer fails to show that appropriate right-to-work document checks were carried out.

Richard Lederle, head of the South East Immigration Enforcement team, said: “Using illegal labour is not victimless crime; it cheats the taxpayer, undercuts honest employers and means legitimate job seekers are denied employment opportunities. It also exploits some of society’s most vulnerable people.”

Whistleblowers with information on suspected immigration abuse can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


Greenwich Curry Club Awards

Greenwich Curry Club Awards


Voting has opened in this year’s Greenwich Curry Club Awards - sponsored by Goa Premium Beer.

The Greenwich Curry Club began in 2010 with a group of friends meeting once a month, at a different venue, to “eat curry, drink beer and talk nonsense.”

The group has since grown, and now reviews curry houses all over the UK and internationally, as well as offering news, recipes and all things curry related on its website.

The original south London group still meets and new members are welcome if they are “charming, witty, and don’t do ‘a runner’ before the bill is paid.

Commenting on the sponsorship, Daniel Ford, founder of the Greenwich Curry Club, said: "We launched the Greenwich Curry Club Awards in 2011 to recognise the restaurants, takeaways and people that work in this great industry and are thrilled to be able to work with Goa Beer closely, as we look to take the Awards to the next level. We know that Goa Beer is a forward-thinking company and are delighted to be partners with a company that offers a genuine Indian beer that is perfect for curry lovers.”

Locals can vote for their favourite venues in Greenwich, Blackheath, Lee, Lewisham, New Cross, Charlton and Deptford at www.greenwichcurryclub.com. Voting closes on 19th November and winners will be announced on 1st December.

Nominated restaurants are: Coriander (Westcombe Park); Everest Inn (Blackheath); Pathiri (Greenwich): Darjeeling (Lewisham); Mogul (Greenwich); Gurkha's Inn (Greenwich); Saffron Club (Blackheath); Kasturi (Charlton): Mountain View (Greenwich); Chinipan (Blackheath): Royal Nepalese (Westcombe Park); and Taste of Raj (Blackhealth).

The award categories are: Favourite restaurant; Favourite Takeaway Restaurant Offering Outstanding Service; Restaurant Offering Outstanding Value; Favourite New Restaurant; plus a Greenwich Curry Club Special Award.

Ben Parmar, MD of Viiking Ventures, said: “The Greenwich Curry Club does great work highlighting the best venues in the area, encouraging ever higher standards. Our marketing strategy is to support local, independent venues. I’m delighted to back the Club’s efforts and want to encourage similar organisations round the country to follow their lead.


New Chapter

New Chapter


Chef Andy McLeish has acquired the former Michelin-starred Chapter One restaurant in orpington, Kent, from financier Ken Sanker. The deal will see McLeish return to the kitchen at Chapter One full time. McLeish’s business partner Marcel Faulstich will run the business, while Ekrem Hassan is a silent partner.

The news coincides with Sanker’s sale of Chapter One’s sister restaurant Chapters in Blackheath, London, to the Ivy Collection. The site will be converted into an Ivy Cafe.

McLeish, who has worked at Chapter One for 17 years, said: “I became a little despondent about running all the other restaurants under Selective Restaurants. My ambition and my cooking essence dwindled a little bit. I was away in January this year and something snapped in my mind and I thought I don’t want to work for anyone else anymore, I want to do it 100% my way.”

McLeish recognised that Chapter One needed a more modern approach and that he would work to make the brasserie side of the business more prominent, with a possible extension to the side of the restaurant in the offing.

Head chef Dean Ferguson remains on board, with the rest of the team. The menu will change much more frequently in a bid to tempt guests back with more variety and quality because guests are “bored of eating the same piece of fish or the same piece of pork belly”

Asian Restaurant Awards

Asian Restaurant Awards


Asian foodies can nominate their favourite restaurants and takeaways in the first Asian Restaurant Awards, which will be held at the Manchester Hilton, on Monday 12th February 2018.

The awards are open to Bangladeshi, Burmese, Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, Middle Eastern, Singaporean, Sri Lankan, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese restaurants and takeaways.

The shortlisted will be determined by members of the public, who can vote online and through Twitter quoting #AsianRestaurantAwards

There will also be awards for the best restaurant suppliers, which will be determined by the votes of restaurateurs, chefs and caterers.

The fill list of awards categories is:

Kitchen Equipment Supplier of the Year
Tableware Company of the Year
Asian Food Company - including drinks
Technology Company of the Year
Best Buffet Restaurant
Best Event Caterer
Best Value Asian Eatery
Gourmet Asian Restaurant of the Year
Best Takeaway
Best Asian Street Food - eat in or takeaway
Best Asian Fusion Food
Asian Restaurateur of the Year
Asian Chef of the Year
Man or Women of the Year

There will also be a number of regional awards for the best local venues.

The Asian Restaurant Awards are organised by the Asian Catering Federation, which will also host the Asian Curry Awards, which will be held the Grosvenor House Hotel in London’s Mayfair on Sunday 12th November.

“Now in their 7th year the Asian Curry Awards are immensely popular and winning restaurants receive a tremendous boost to their business, when they feature the prestigious accolade in their marketing programme,” said Asian Catering Federation chairman, Yawar Khan, “But the term ‘curry’ isn’t always relevant, as these are the only awards open to all Asian cuisines.

“Although these awards are national, we also want to host an event in the north of England, to make them more accessible to venues outside London and the south east."

Leading restaurants will be visited by a panel of judges led by Pat Chapman, editor of the Cobra Good Curry Guide. Whilst the judging criteria are heavily weighted towards the quality of the food and cooking; additional points will be awarded for ambience, customer service, community involvement and hygiene.



Beer O'Clock

Beer O'Clock


Viiking Ventures, the importer of Goa Premium Beer, has revealed that the recipe of its gluten-free craft beer has been tweaked, as it embarks on a consumer-lead push.

The announcement comes in the immediate wake of receiving a prestigious English Asian Business Award for ‘Best Marketed Business’ at a glittering ceremony held at the Mercure Manchester Piccadilly Hotel on 31st July. Avocado Media, which also handles the marketing for the Asian Catering Federation and its Asian Curry Awards, ran the campaign.

Brewed by the family-run boutique Impala Distillery & Brewery in Goa, which was acquired in 2015 by Bollywood actor and film producer Sachiin Joshi, the beer is popular as an accompaniment to spicy foods.

Following consumer research as a stand-alone product, taste tested alongside leading premium pilsners, it was felt the formula needed to be enhance if it was to succeed in smart night clubs and style bars.

“We bought our head brewer a plane ticket and invited him to taste leading European pilsners,” said Viiking Ventures MD Ben Parmar. “Goan beers have a unique robust style, and are usually high strength, which can be something of an acquired taste for Western palates.”

Results from blind and open tastings are highly positive.

In blind tastings, with three other leading beers sold in Indian and Bangladeshi restaurants, Goa was the clear leader, being preferred by more than 50 per cent of the sample. When presented with beers in branded glasses and informed that Goa Premium Beer was gluten-free and an authentic Indian import, rather than brewed in the UK under licence, that rating rose to 74%.

The brewer has switched from the use of a 6-row malt, to a finer 2-row which delivers a brighter colour, with improved clarity and more subtle taste. The strength remains at 4.8% ABV.

In this first phase of its introduction to the UK, the focus has been on direct sales to restaurants and retailers, whilst securing wholesale distribution channels.

The emphasis has been on supporting restaurants’ special events, charity fund raisers, gourmet dinners and the introduction of gluten free menus, with PR, social media support, point of sale materials, merchandising, competitions, waiter incentives and a unique Brand Ambassador scheme. A dedicated 10-strong field sales team has ensured rapid take up by restaurateurs and independent retails, with distribution through wholesalers including Booker and Makro.

The focus will now switch to a consumer awareness campaign through Avocado Media. Restyled packaging has been introduced and restaurants will be equipped with a new branded glass with slimmer waist.



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