Burnley restaurant claims prestigious award

Faisal Hussain of Shimla Spice accepting the prestigious award.
Faisal Hussain of Shimla Spice accepting the prestigious award.

A budding Burnley restaurant has won ‘Restaurant of the Year’ for the North West at the English Curry Awards.

A budding Burnley restaurant has won ‘Restaurant of the Year’ for the North West at the English Curry Awards.

Shimla Spice on Church Street scooped the prestigious award at an event at the Mercure Manchester Piccadilly Hotel on August 22nd just 14 months after opening.

Owner Faisal Hussain, who also has successful branches in Yorkshire, expanded into Lancashire as a ‘challenge’, and has seen his restaurant thrive in the red rose county.

“When we first opened a lot of people said we were going into territory which is not good - we’re Yorkshire-based and we’re going into Lancashire!” said Faisal. “But in Burnley we’re doing extremely well, we’re very proud.

“Lancashire was a good move; it was more of a challenge for me to open a restaurant over the border - a flagship branch. I wanted new challenges, new customers, new clientele, different competition. And we’ve thrived.”

Having claimed the title as ‘Best New Indian Restaurant’ at last year’s English Curry Awards, the excellent Shimla Spice went one step further this year, confirming their place as Burnley’s premier Indian restaurant.

“90% of Asian people from Colne, Nelson and Burnley who used to travel to Manchester just to get a good curry now save the trip, which is a good sign,” explains Faisal. “We even get people coming from Liverpool and Manchester who come to us. We’ve switched it around.”

A proponent of classic, rustic Pakistani cuisine, Shimla Spice offers diners an elite culinary experience and has received praise from all angles.

“We’ve got one one particular dish - the desi chicken karahi,” Faisal says. “It’s a very authentic Pakistani home-cooked dish. I’ve had restaurateurs that have been in the curry business for 40 years who have said this is one of the best chicken karahis they’ve ever had.”

The key, explains Faisal, is the quality of ingredients, which allows the traditional recipes and spices to thrive and create a unique and outstanding taste for customers.

“With the meats that I buy, I’ve got control,” Faisal explains. “I say ‘I want fresh, I want the chicken to be so-and-so age, I want my mutton to be only so-and-so age’, which reflects in the dish because if you’re having a meat dish and the meat is really old and chewy is has an overall impact on the dish, even the flavours that it executes.”

And to say Shimla’s methods appear to be working very well indeed would be an understatement.

“We’re different,” Faisal says. “There’s no restaurant in Burnley quite like ours.” And one finds it hard to argue given Shimla Spice’s results.