Sunderland's top-rated Babaji restaurant shortlisted in Nation's Curry Awards 2024

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The city curry house has only been open a year and is already in line for a national award.

Babaji opened its doors in January 2023 after a major transformation of the former Royale Thai restaurant in Mary Street, which had been empty for around a year before being taken over by the current owners.

Babaji in Mary StreetBabaji in Mary Street
Babaji in Mary Street | Sunderland Echo

A dedicated curry house, Babaji, which means 'dear father' is inspired by the Indian fathers who moved to Britain in the 1960s, pioneering the Indian food industry in the country and sparking the nation’s love of curry.

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It's already the current top-rated restaurant on the Sunderland Trip Advisor thanks to glowing reviews from customers.

And now its 'unfiltered taste of India' has earned it a spot in the shortlist for Best New Restaurant of the Year in the Nation's Curry Awards 2024.

Babaji promises an 'unfiltered taste of India'Babaji promises an 'unfiltered taste of India'
Babaji promises an 'unfiltered taste of India' | Sunderland Echo

The restaurant has been brought to the city by Shah Lalon Amin, who has had great success with his award-winning Delhi 6 and Delhi Lounge ventures in South Shields, and his business partner Sohel Khan.

Sohel, Babaji manager, said: "It's an absolute privilege to be nominated and shortlisted in the Nation's Curry Awards. It shows how much hard work the team, the chefs and management have put in."

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He added: "We would really like to thank our customers who have supported us. It took us a couple of months to get the word out and our customers really have been our best advertisement with word of mouth.

"Sunderland has some great restaurants and some great Indian restaurants, so it's really hard to get to number one on Trip Advisor.

"Hopefully we can fly the flag for Sunderland at the awards and bring the title home."

Babaji in Mary Street. The site was also once the Royal Mail sorting office.Babaji in Mary Street. The site was also once the Royal Mail sorting office.
Babaji in Mary Street. The site was also once the Royal Mail sorting office. | Sunderland Echo

Now in its second year, the Nation's Curry Awards recognise the talents and hard work of individuals and businesses working in the UK's curry industry.

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The Babaji team will find out if they have won the award at a ceremony in Manchester on February 12.

Speaking about why he started the restaurant, Shah said: "Our father was one of the pioneers of the British Indian food industry, which changed Britain’s palate forever.

"We wanted to honour that heritage by taking classic dishes and bringing them into the modern era with authenticity. It’s true Indian flavours, we call it ‘unfiltered’ Indian food.”

  • Babaji, Mary Street, is open seven days a week from 5pm to 11pm.
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