The boss of the Akbar's award-winning Indian restaurant chain has taken to TikTok to provide an update on plans to open a flagship venue in the first quarter of this year.

The Bradford-based firm's chief executive and founder, Shabir Hussain, said in a video on the social media site its long-awaited new outlet in the former Blakey's Bar at the side of King George's Hall, Blackburn, is coming along well.

The company, headquartered in Leeds Road, Bradford, signed a lease for the premises in Blackburn's new £50 million cultural and leisure quarter in April 2023 with the ambition of opening in summer last year.

But after delays in fitting out the new restaurant, Mr Hussain has given a new opening date in his TikTok video, with the restaurant likely to open its doors towards the end of this month or start of next month.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: It will open in the old Blakey's barIt will open in the old Blakey's bar

The news has been welcomed by Blackburn with Darwen Council growth boss Cllr Quesir Mahmood and his Conservative counterpart Cllr Paul Marrow.

In the TikTok video Mr Hussain, described as 'the official king of curry', is asked: "Can you tell us what's in store in Blackburn?"

He replies: "Yes, we have an almost 200 seater restaurant which is being finalised and finished.

"About 90 per cent of the work has been done. Final touches.

@akbarsrestaurants Exciting update today from Shabir, the official King of Curry CEO! Stay tuned for a flavour packed journey! #CurryRoyalty #SpiceTalks #GourmetLeadership #FoodieInsights #TasteMastery #CulinaryWisdom #FlavourfulCEO #GastronomicAdventure #SavourTheSpices #curryconnoisseur ♬ original sound - AKBARS

"So hopefully four weeks and we'll be open and look forward to seeing you guys here."

After being founded in Bradford with a small 28-seat restaurant, Akbars is now established in many UK cities, including Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Birmingham and Glasgow.

Blakey's Bar was formerly home to the EastzEast restaurant, which shut in September 2022 after a possession order was placed upon it.

The firm EastzEast Restaurant BB Ltd went into liquidation owing the authority £50,000.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Cllr Mahmood said: "I am absolutely delighted. We are delighted that this is coming forward.

"It seems that significant progress is being made. This is something that we have been looking forward to

"Akbars is an award-winning restaurant chain that will really do a lot for Blackburn town centre.

"We have been waiting for this for a while but it will definitely be worth it."

Cllr Marrow said: "This is good news.

"Let's hope it's more successful than EastzEast was.

"We have got to welcome this and hope it makes Blackburn town centre more vibrant especially in the evenings."

* EastzEast BB had no connection with eastZeast which runs restaurants in in Manchester, Preston, Bradford and Leeds.