THE owner of The Raj restaurant in Marlborough has expressed his delight at being nominated by MP Claire Perry for a prestigious competition to find the best South Asian eatery nationwide.
Much to the joy and surprise of Bangladeshi-born Amirul Haque Bablu, Ms Perry has given the 40-year-old's restaurant, High Street, the seal of approval by putting him forward for the annual Tiffin Cup.
Nominees, such as Mr Bablu's Indian and Bangladeshi restaurant, are selected by Parliamentary constituency and then put forward by local MPs, with one restaurant from every region shortlisted and invited to participate in an event held at the House of Commons, judged by MPs and guest celebrities.
"When I found out I was shocked and overjoyed at the nomination - it really is quite an honour, especially as there is a lot of stiff opposition in this area," said Mr Bablu, who is married with three children.
"All of our team were delighted to get this as it shows that our hard work is paying off. More than 10 years on from when we started, we still have the same amount of passion and drive that we had back then.
"After a great deal of looking, Marlborough was the stand-out town for our restaurant. It has a magnificent high street, very polite and hassle-free customers - we really feel very much part of the community."
This is not the only time the restaurant, which has eight staff, has been up for an award, as in 2012 and 2014 they made it into the top four of the Bangladesh Caterers Association for the South West.
"We are proud of the quality of food and service we provide here and have done for the last 13 years. We have real Indian food that comes with a punch," said Mr Bablu, who moved to England from Bangladesh in 2001.
"Nominations like this will certainly help get our name out there which is great."
The proceeds from the final event will go to a selected charity.
Ms Perry added: "I am delighted to have nominated The Raj for this competition - your restaurant is renown in Marlborough for its delicious food and my son, who is at Marlborough College, is a real fan."