A POPULAR Tameside restaurant has been pipped for top prize at the annual curry ‘Oscars’.
But the Indian Ocean in Ashton-under-Lyne is still number one with hundreds of Manchester’s homeless.
Founder Nahim Aslam and his team had previously served up four victories at the British Curry Awards in London.
And they were hopeful of tasting success once more at the recent star studded event where guests included snooker great Jimmy White, former England football international David Seaman plus leading politicians Sir Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrats, and top Tory Chris Grayling MP.
This time though the Indian Ocean finished runners-up to the Viceroy from Carlisle in the Best Spice Restaurant North West category.
But at a time when an estimated four curry houses a week are closing, caused by a shortage of chefs, the Stamford Street East eaterie continues to buck current trends.
This year the Indian Ocean and its 15-strong staff celebrate their 25th anniversary at the heart of the community.
And it’s not only diners at their Ashton premises who get to enjoy the cuisine.
Once a week the restaurant provides a meal for the Emmaus Mossley companions at Longlands Mill.
The chefs also cook up weekly meals for rough sleepers in Manchester City Centre.
“We have been doing it now for almost a couple of years,” explained Nahim who has built up the business with his wife, Ulfath.
“We were contacted by a couple of ladies who provide food and clothing to the homeless and asked if we could help.
“So, every Thursday we cook fresh food, they collect it and hand it out in Piccadilly Gardens.
“We do a variety of curries for them. At this time of the year, we might do a Madras but then something a little less hot in the summer.
“It’s good to be able to give something back to the community and we know the food is appreciated.”