Panache in Elgin has claimed the title of Asian Restaurant of the Year for Scotland at the Asian Curry Awards.
Panache, on South Street, was crowned the winner at a ceremony in London on Sunday.
It was one of only two north-east restaurants nominated for the award.
This is not the first award Panache has won this year. They were also awarded Best Dining Experience at the National Scottish Curry Awards and Best Asian Restaurant in the Highlands.
Manager Jabir Hussain, who opened the restaurant four years ago, was pleased to have yet another accolade under their belt.
He said: “It was a great achievement to win the national award and to be the only winner from Scotland this year.
“All the hard work we’ve done over the years has paid off.”
Panache is ‘suffering after the pandemic’
Mr Hussain explained that restaurants like Panache aren’t easy to come across in smaller towns in the north and north-east.
He said: “Up north, in Moray and the Highlands, there aren’t many Asian restaurants. You see some in Inverness and Aberdeen but it’s only ourselves in a small town like Elgin.
“We are really glad that they obviously recognise our hard work.”
He also spoke of staff shortages still causing problems for restaurants across the country: “It’s really hard, business is not like it was before the pandemic. Our staff are scared of serving events and big gatherings, it’s very hard.
“For Asian restaurants, there’s a kitchen staff shortage all over the UK. The trade is suffering after the pandemic.”
However, Mr Hussain remained optimimistic that this latest award would help attract customers to Panache.
He said: “I hope more people will come to the restaurant after the awards, we’re trying our best, all our staff have been fully trained.
“Hopefully it will get back to normal, we want our normal life back again.”
The Asian Curry Awards
There were 800 VIP guests in attendance at this year’s Asian Curry Awards. The evening was hosted by the BBC’s Kate Silverton and organised by the Asian Catering Federation in association with Just Eat.
They celebrate a wide variety of Asian cuisines, from Nepalese to Filipino and Thai.
Other awards given out on the night included Newcomer of the Year, Best Vegetarian Restaurant and Street Food Restaurant of the Year.
Yawar Khan, chairman of the federation said at the ceremony that “the days of the cheap Friday night curry are coming to end”, with more people now willing to pay for top quality Asian cuisine.
He also acknowledged that there are area of the industry that will need to change, including giving staff the occasional busy weekend off and working on ways to attract more customers during the week.