THE owner of a Bradford-Leeds restaurant has spoken of his joy after retaining a prestigious award at a national event.

Lala’s, on Bradford Road in Pudsey, was named Best Asian Restaurant in the North of England on a flashy night at Manchester’s Hilton on Monday.

In 2020, Junior Rashid opened his third branch of Lala’s, the others are in Wakefield and Huddersfield, in the building which previously stood as The Farmers pub, then Family Fayre and Lahori.

Since then, the restaurant has earned rave reviews and has now won two awards.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Junior Rashid holding his two awardsJunior Rashid holding his two awards

Lala's was once again up against giants in the Indian food game including the likes of Aagrah, Akbars, Jinnah, Mahmood's, Mumtaz and MyLahore.

It is this competition which drives Mr Rashid and his team.

He said: "They are all after the main one. Since we won the last one, we have upped our game even more, we have just been on it.

"The response was amazing and it just motivated us to be at the top of our game with the food and service.

"It came as a surprise again with a lot of big restaurants also up for it. It is quite a good achievement.

"It has been a tough time for everybody with the pandemic, so the awards have given us a good boost. It is good that people are coming back out."

Mr Rashid also came away with the Young Entrepreneur gong on Monday night.

He feels it is important to not just build the restaurant's brand but his own as front of house.

He added: "I am building myself and making myself part of the brand as well.

"When everybody hears Lala's then straight away Junior comes to your head. I am the host of it all.

"I was the youngest restaurateur there. To win that award feels great."

Next on the agenda for Mr Rashid and his chain of eateries is a location on Great Horton Road.

Plans to turn one of Bradford's grandest empty buildings into the restaurant were approved earlier this year.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The location for the next Lala's restaurantThe location for the next Lala's restaurant

The Grove Library building was until recently used by Bradford College. Before then it was the Bradford Regional College of Art - once attended by David Hockney.

In February, members of Bradford Council's Area Planning Panel approved an application to turn the ground floor of the Grade II listed building into a new branch of Lala's.