THE WINNER of the New Business of the Year award was Kunafa Tea, a restaurant and cafe based on Thornton Road, not far from the University of Bradford.

The business is run by three people who all came to Bradford from Syria - Hisham Al-Mahayni, Abdulrahman Mkia and Anas Alhabi.

The owners and their families prepare all of the food, and dishes range from starters such as hummus and falafel to mains such as shawarma and grills, and desserts including kunafa and baklava.

Kunafa Tea opened in August 2021, and co-founder Hisham Al-Mahayni said he was overwhelmed to have picked up the prize at the Bradford Means Business Awards.

“To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to be one of the winners,” he said.

“I feel really happy, it’s amazing.

“I think this will give us even more of a presence in this city. We will be continuing our hard work, people will be expecting more from us now and we are hoping to keep up the good quality.

“Coming here to England, to Bradford, from Syria – and now receiving this award – is something I couldn’t have ever imagined.

“I’m so happy and proud of myself and my team for what we have done, and I’m hoping we can now do even better.”

Hisham came to the UK as a refugee 10 years ago and previously described Kunafa Tea as like a “baby”, which the owners are watching “grow and grow”, as it becomes a popular spot for people from Bradford’s Middle Eastern community, as well as people from all backgrounds in the district.

“It’s an honour to be nominated, and we are all very proud,” Hisham said previously.

“We opened a Syrian restaurant as we thought people in Bradford deserved to taste our food, and we wanted to give back to the community – that’s something we are proud of.”

Other nominees in this category were VR City, based on North Parade, and Little Beacon, based in Ilkley

People from Bradford and beyond have been enjoying virtual reality games at VR City since September.

Brothers Hasan and Zeeshan Khan are behind the business, and were inspired by leisure facilities which became popular in Japan.

Little Beacon is a hand-printed textile brand, which opened its first physical shop in July last year, was founded by Rachel Walker, who is originally from Australia.

It was first aimed at children, which explains where the ‘little’ came from, while the ‘beacon’, Rachel explained is a “nice nod” to the Yorkshire Dales.

Rachel moved to the UK 10 years ago, and has lived in Ilkley for the last six.