As one of the south London final five, Eastern Cuisine has been invited to a national awards ceremony, hosted by comedian Rob Brydon on Monday, December 5 at The Savoy in London.
To determine the winner, each of the finalists will now be marked having been visited by a “mystery shopper”.
They have also been asked to provide a submission on why they deserve to win.
A panel of judges, including celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott and star of Dragons’ Den Sarah Willingham, will review the results and select the 13 regional winners and the overall victor.
Each of the 13 regional winners will receive £1,000 and a free sign up to Just Eat, or their sign-up fee returned if they are already a partner.
One of the 13 will also be announced as the Best British Takeaway, with a prize of £5,000.
Chef Fazlur Rahman in the kitchen at Eastern CuisineEastern Cuisine founder Sharif Ahmed, who runs the business with a friend, Asad Ahmed, said he was somewhat lost for words at making it to the final five for the second year in a row.
He said: “We were not expecting that many customers to love us that much.
“I knew that they love us but this year it’s totally – I don’t know – I have not got any words to say.”
The takeaway, which also has a small restaurant area seating 28, opened in 2011 following the success of a branch in Oxfordshire.
Sharif, who formerly worked in hospitality in Bangladesh before coming to the UK 16 years ago, said there was a simple explanation as to why his restaurant is so popular.
“We believe in quality and quantity,” he said.
The restaurant specialises in cuisine from Goa, in India, and its dishes are made using sauces, rather than gravy bases.
“Our food is totally different [to other Indian restaurants],” he said. “Our cooking style is different.”
Eastern Cuisine makes nine different sauces which are featured in its dishes.
You could choose the Hariali Masfala, which includes coconut powder, almond powder, mint leaf, lemon juice, paprika powder, curry powder, fresh tomatoes, ginger and garlic.
The signature dish and the most popular is Tiger by the River – succulent whole king prawns cooked in a variety of spices in a medium thick sauce.
Tiger by the River is the most popular dish on the menu at Eastern Cuisine in Gipsy HillIt can sell 50 to 60 portions of that dish on a Friday.
It could be a double celebration for Eastern Cuisine, which is on Gipsy Hill the road and close to Gipsy Hill station, as in the same competition chef Fazlur Rahman has been voted as one of the top five chefs in the UK.
Sharif admitted he is confident the takeaway will win the regional final for the second year in a row.
“I am pretty sure I’m going to win again,” he said.
Graham Corfield, UK managing director of Just Eat, who chairs the judging panel, said: “These finalists clearly have the loyal support of their customers, who have voted in their thousands to get them into the top five takeaways in South London.
“What is common among all the finalists is that they produce fantastic food, deliver great customer service and play a vital role at the heart of their community.”
Eastern Cuisine chef Fazlur Rahman has been named as one of five top chefs in the UK
Eastern Cuisine’s address is 138 Gipsy Hill, London, SE19 1PW. The takeaway can be called on 020 8761 6688 or you can visit www.easterncuisine.co.uk