Rhubarb! No, it’s true...the Yorkshire delicacy was today revealed as the ‘secret weapon’ which got voters jumping for Zoya - the YEP’s Curry House of the Year 2017.
Thousands of you voted for the best curry houses you love the most.
Second place went to last year’s winner Grand Indian Lounge, in Wakefield Road, Swillington and third, for the second year running, was Jinnah, in York Road, Seacroft.
But there can only be one winner.
And our 2017 champion is Zoya in Aberford Road, Oulton.
Today bosses and staff were celebrating at the at 60-seater restaurant where their vote-winning signature dish was revealed as the Rothwell Rhubarb Special.
The chef’s own creation is a sweet and spicy chicken or lamb main course, made with garlic, spring onions, roasted ground cinnamon, shallots, methi - and locally-grown rhubarb.
The so-called Rhubarb Triangle, where some of the best in the world is grown, is a nine-square-mile area in West Yorkshire, between Rothwell, Morley and Wakefield.
“Our rhubarb signature dish probably got us a lot of the votes. I guess it’s now going to be more popular than ever. This award will be great for business. We’re thrilled to win,” said owner Sham Hussain, at the eatery, which is just a mile from Rothwell, close to Junction 30 on the M62.
“I guess what makes us the winner is we serve an excellent variety of dishes here. All the food is freshly cooked and our chef has a lot of experience.
“It’s also lovely place to eat, a nice intimate venue, well decorated with a good ambience about it.
“We want to say a really big thank you to all our customers who have voted and to the staff who have worked really hard. We are planning to celebrate the win and our third anniversary here at the end of August.”
Imran Choudhury, owner of second placed Grand Indian Lounge in Swillington, said he would be after his title back again next year.
The restaurant also has its eyes on the YEP Oliver Award, after being a runner up for Best Indian Restaurant of The Year.
He said: “We are delighted with this latest honour but we were first last year and we will be going all out to get the title back in 2018.
“We would love to win every time. The award is great for business.
“Here we have a growing reputation for serving beautiful, fresh food; we engage with the customers and we cater for everyone, including vegans. And we have 110 covers, with nine staff, who do an excellent job.
“We have only been here for four years but we already have lots of loyal customers and we want to thank them and everyone who voted for us again this year.”
Also currying favour with voters this year was third placed Jinnah, in Seacroft.
Managing director Sami Younis said: “We were third last time and again this year - but that shows consistency. We are continuing to deliver a high standard of food and service. It gives us something to go for.
“We have 45 seats and we try to make everyone feel at home. Booking is essential. We often get people queueing to get in. But it’s a reflection of all the hard work we’ve put in to make the restaurant what it is today.
“The chef does lots of specials, changing the sauces daily. We have been open 18 years and it’s great to be getting awards after all that time. It is a big achievement for us.
“We are planning to celebrate and thank our loyal customers who voted for us.”