Hornchurch's Tandoori Lounge shortlisted for Asian Restaurant Award
- Credit: Ram Ahuja
A Hornchurch Indian restaurant has been shortlisted for a national food award.
Tandoori Lounge on Hornchurch High Street is one of four contenders to win the Asian Restaurant Awards in the east of England region.
Owners Honey and Sukh Uppal set up the restaurant in memory of Sukh’s mother, and aim to bring “a taste of authentic Punjabi cuisine to the streets of Havering”.
Honey told the Recorder: “It’s outstanding news that we’ve been shortlisted, particularly considering we are still quite a new restaurant and only opened four years ago.
“For us, it’s a massive achievement, especially after pulling through the pandemic and seeing so many places close down.”
The winners of the Asian Restaurant Awards will be announced at a gala dinner and presentation ceremony in Manchester on August 31.
Asian Catering Federation chairman Yawar Khan said: “These awards will acknowledge the sector’s resilience, innovation and generosity in the face of such adversity.”
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Tandoori Lounge has previously won The Good Food Award for 2020 and 2021, and Honey added: “Hopefully we’ll win again and get a hat trick.”
The restaurateur explained she had founded Tandoori Lounge after moving to the area and struggling to find local restaurants the family enjoyed.
“We had to travel really far to find places that satisfied our tastebuds,” Honey said.
“Sukh actually put an offer in on the empty shop without telling me, and next thing I knew, we owned a restaurant.”
Their daughter Sarina, 11, enjoys baking and helping out in the kitchen, Honey explained, but son Simar, 13, is happier eating the final product.
The couple chose a menu that is deliberately “slightly spicier and less sweet” than many other British Indian restaurants.
“People walk in and realise that what they have been eating for their whole life isn't actually Indian food.
“We serve authentic Punjabi cuisine that we actually eat at home.”
“I’m really proud and feel overwhelmed that we’ve had such a good response to our food.”
Tandoori Lounge was founded in memory of Sukh’s mother, Honey explained, who was a “big foodie” and died in 2016.
“Thankfully she had given us her blessing, because that’s the only reason we could be doing as well as we are," she added.