HomeFeatured EditorialsAnd the #FtLionAwards 2019 winners are…
Patri Feed the Lion 2019 award winners

And the #FtLionAwards 2019 winners are…

After 12 categories, 61 nominations, reevaluating review marks and talling scores, plenty of head scratching, debating and squabbling, and the start of a new decade, it all comes down to this.

Here are the results of #FtLionAwards 2019 (proudly sponsored by non alcoholic distribution company Azanti, which promotes a #soberlifestyle).

BEST RESTAURANT 2019

Winner Halal London Indian Restaurant Awards

(Shortlisted Nominees)

Winner: FATT PUNDIT, London
Runner-up: PATRI, London
Readers’ Choice: RIBEYE STEAKHOUSE, Manchester

The single most important factor that tipped the scales in favour of Fatt Pundit in London Soho over Patri in Northfields, west London, was the uniqueness and level of innovation of their menu.

Patri Indian Halal restaurant Northfields London

Patri – #FtLion’s Best Curryhouse,  Kebab & Main!

There aren’t many restaurants that present Indo Chinese cuisine, i.e. “the taste of Tangra”, as excitingly as this recently launched establishment, where they consistently wowed us with virtually no weak dish to speak of culminating in them also winning: Best Newcomer and Best Veggie (Crackling Spinach); runner-up for the Guava Chilli Sour drink, while being shortlisted for two beverages, two veggies, and a seafood dish.

Having been rated 4.5/5 by us, and an almost perfect 4.8/5 at the time of this publication, Fatt Pundit win this year’s Restaurant of the Year and becomes the third Indian restaurant in succession to have done so (previous winners include Grand Trunk Road in 2017 and Kahani in 2018). Congratulations to them!

As for our Runner-up, then Patri would have taken this on any other day. Having won Best Curry House, Best Kebab (Mixed Grill), and Best Main (Thumka Biryani), Puneet Wadhwani’s multi-award winning brand, with a FtLion rating of 4.5/5, would have won any other day.

The Readers’ Choice was simple enough, with Manchester’s hugely impressive Ribeye Steakhouse being overwhelmingly voted this year’s winner. Having been voted your Best Newcomer and also taking the Best Steak award, this 4.5/5 fully Halal establishment deserves huge plaudits.

BEST NEWCOMER 2019

Newcomer Halal London Indian Restaurant Awards

(Shortlisted Nominees)

Winner: FATT PUNDIT, London
Runner-up: THE MANTL, London
Readers’ Choice: RIBEYE STEAKHOUSE, Manchester

Having won our Best Restaurant award, and with its nearest rival Patri having opened in 2017, Fatt Pundit takes the Newcomer award and, judging by our review marks, by some distance too. We’ll say it again, but uniqueness and innovation scores extremely highly with us!

Mantl Turkish Knightsbridge Halal restaurant

The Mantl – Best Starter, Smoked Sheep’s Yoghurt!

And that is why our runner-up, new Turkish restaurant The Mantl, comes out top (only just mind you) over places like two-Michelin chef Atul Kochhar’s Kanishka, which has won Best Seafood for it’s incredible Naga Scallops while coming up runners-up and readers’ choice for its starter dish: Atul’s Chicken Tikka Pie.

Located in swanky Knightsbridge, talented brothers Mazlum and Serdar Demir, who are behind award-winning Turkish establishment Skewd Kitchen, have put together a stunningly inventive menu, who, while being considered for best main, seafood, dessert, kebab, newcomer and restaurant, have won Best Starter (Smoked Sheep’s Yoghurt) while being runner-up for Best Kebab (Iskender). Their refined cuisine, with all the hallmarks of freshness and quality that underpin Turkish food, earned them a 4.5/5 rating.

Manchester’s Ribeye Steakhouse impressed you guys considerably again easily out-voting everyone else across our social channels.

BEST CURRY HOUSE 2019

Patri Feed the Lion 2019 award winners

(Shortlisted Nominees)

Winner: PATRI, London
Runner-up: KOOLCHA, London
Readers’ Choice: PATRI, London

Koolcha Indian Boxpark Wembley Halal

Koolcha is Michelin chef Rohit Ghai gone casual!

There really wasn’t much competition this year when it came to this category. Patri, who we rated 4.5/5 while designating them “the best Indian restaurant in west London”, have an exceptionally good head chef in Vijendra Rana, who’s plied his trade in Dubai, come over to London, and blew the competition out of the water with one distinct curry being served after another.

We’re talking Koraishuti Makhani; Murgh Makhani, which is probably one of the best we’ve had and which was nominated for Best Main; Pantry Chicken Curry; Nizami Safed Maas; Mangsher Jhol; and Radhuni Chicken. Having won Best Main for its Thumka Biryani, Patri was also voted by you guys as their winner.

Koolcha in Boxpark Wembley, west London, is Michelin chef Rohit Ghai’s move away from fancy gastronomy and towards the world of casual contemporary dining. The food was, by and large, well executed, with definite signs of precision, craft and attention to detail.

BEST BURGER 2019

Brgr.bro Feed the Lion 2019 award winners

(Shortlisted Nominees)

Winner: BRGR.BRO – Grilled Flaming Hot Chicken
Runner-up: PHAT BUNS – Phat Angus 
Readers’ Choice: BRGR.BRO – Grilled Flaming Hot Chicken

Phat Buns - Leicester Halal burger restaurant Angus Beef

Phat Bun’s Phat Angus – freshness personified!

We went to Leicester’s BRGR.BRO with zero expectations! And to be honest, we weren’t expecting anything close to what we got from “the UK’s first slider restaurant”. While they pulled out a number of solid burgers, it was the unique flavour profile of their Grilled Flamin Hot Chicken that floored us.

Granted it was a slider and not an actual burger, but its simplicity meant that everything required to be spot on, and spot on it was. Presented in a Charcoal Bun, it had a beautifully succulent piece of poultry marinated in a semi-wet batter that was liberally coated in what one Lion described as reminding him of namesake Monster Munch Flamin’ Hot crisps! More emphatically, this was also your favourite.

As for Phat Buns, again in Leicester (yup; you Londoners ought to be ashamed of yourselves), then despite having two burgers that made the cut this year, it was their Phat Angus smashed beef burgers, and made as fresh as you can get with the meat being brought in on a regular basis but ground on site to ensure maximal freshness, which made this our runner-up.

BEST STEAK 2019

Awards Steaks Steakhouse Ribeye Manchester Restaurant

(Shortlisted Nominees)

Winner: RIBEYE STEAKHOUSE Wagyu Ribeye
Runner-up: THE RANCH The Tomahawk
Readers’ Choice: RIBEYE STEAKHOUSE – Wagyu Ribeye

The Ranch Halal Steakhouse restaurant Hornchurch

The Ranch’s signature 1kg Tomahawk – WOW!

This was another category that turned out to be a foregone conclusion, such was the quality of Manchester’s latest sensation, Ribeye Steakhouse. As a fully Halal restaurant, with the city’s first dry bar, they presented this 300-400 days corn fed, minimum grade-5, and “fully traceable from farm to fork” Ribeye (9oz) Wagyu which absolutely wowed.

In fact, this is the third Wagyu steak to take the award in succession following RockIT Steakhouse and Zelman Meats. A glistening piece of meat beautifully branded by a tapestry of criss-crossed grill marks across its dark exterior. The taste of the Wagyu was everything we could have hoped for and more. As your choice for Best Restaurant and Best Newcomer, you also voted this your Best Steak.

The Ranch in Hornchurch, London, presented us its signature 1kg Tomahawk. Not only did it look the part, but was beautifully tender and succulent, and really well seasoned.

BEST KEBAB 2019

Kebab Grill Halal London Indian Restaurant Awards

(Shortlisted Nominees)

Winner: PATRI – 50 50 Grill
Runner-up: THE MANTL – Iskender
Readers’ Choice: UNI KEBAB – Calzone (Lamb Doner & Veg)

So our Curry House of the Year isn’t just about curries, but also about kebabs as Patri pulled out an elaborate and hugely impressive platter of kebabs, called the 50 50 Grill, which was part of their Ramadan menu. Comprising of “half tandoori chicken, half seekh, half murgh malai tikka”, almost every element was executed with an acute sense of purpose.

Uni Kebab - Southampton Halal restaurant

Uni Kebab’s bad boy Calzone was your choice!

The knife literally glided through a tandoor chicken that was masterfully done, and sat beside a murgh malai tikka that was dreamily tender and arguably one of the best we’ve had, while the seekh kebab had just that right level of chewy-tenderness and spices one looks for in such kebabs.

As for our Newcomer runner-up, then The Mantl in Knightsbridge presented us these crispy Iskender adana kebabs, which were topped with a huge dollop of semi-thick and lightly smoked yoghurt before being properly doused in burnt butter sauce, while resting atop a layer of tangy tomato sauce and a bed of roasted pitta chunks. We couldn’t stop eating!

And Southampton’s multi-award winning Uni Kebab’s Calzone was your choice – a pregnant package, with plenty of glistening golden grilled cheese, thin slithers of jalapenos and pepperoni, and filled to the brim with juicy layers of lamb doner and green peppers.

BEST DESSERT 2019

Dessert Dusk Essex Awards Restaurant

(Shortlisted Nominees)

Winner: DUSK Baba
Runner-up: DUSK – Lemon Tart
Readers’ Choice: DUSK Chocolate Fantasy

Yup; the trio of desserts put before us by Michelin-experienced Sous Chef, David Dosoo, who’s worked under none other than Gordan Ramsey, stole the show at D U S K in Essex!

dessert DUSK Brentwood Halal Essex restaurant Fine Dining

Lemon Tart described by one Lion as the best he’d ever had!

If he’s still working for them, then D U S K would be worth the visit just for these phenomenal desserts. Our pick was always going to be the Baba whose large cylindrical sponge cake was positively saturated in a subtly sweet-cum-citrusy, cold watery syrup, and resting on a bed of warm diced fruits that contrasted perfectly had us buzzing from the first bite.

Their Lemon Tart was described by one Lion as the best he’d ever had! With a pastry base that was as exquisitely thin as you’d ever want, the setting of the lemon tart, the level of its acidity and the ultra-thin sugar coating achieved on top was just something to behold. This was topped with a scoop of smooth raspberry sorbet which itself rested on a wedge of something that appeared to be almost banana-like in taste.

As for the Chocolate Fantasy, then this had a lusciously smooth chocolate mousse topped with an even smoother scoop of raspberry sorbet sprinkled in nuts; a stunningly good smooth jaffa cake ice cream, all full with tasty little bits of biscuit and orange chocolate; a dainty Nutella-filled donught that rested in a smooth milk chocolate puddle; and a Chocomosa, or crispy samosa, filled with liquid chocolate. All four elements were presented on a bed of chocolate soil, and all four were superbly done making this a fun-filled event.

BEST SEAFOOD 2019

Scallops Seafood Restaurant Indian London Restaurant

(Shortlisted Nominees)

Winner: KANISHKA Naga Scallops
Runner-up: PING PAN ASIAN Seafood Curry Laksa
Readers’ Choice: KANISHKA – Naga Scallops

2-Michelin chef Atul Kochhar was always going to make his weight felt in some way; and what a way to do so too with his Naga Scallops as presented at Kanishka in Mayfair London.

Curry Laksa Ping Coombes Pan Asian Food Halal Selfridges Oxford Street London Malaysian Chinese

Ping Coombes fantastic Seafood Laksa had us entranced.

Now, we’ve had a fair share of scallop dishes in our time up and down the country, but these are arguably some of the best we’ve ever had! Mind-bogglingly good to the point that they didn’t so much melt as dissolve in the mouth. Paired with pan-fried cauliflower florets, which brought texture, and a pair of red and yellow sauces sprinkled with a few diced red chillis, this was a fabulous plate. Little wonder you guys voted it your choice.

Ping Coombes’ Ping Pan Asian on the 4th floor of Selfridges in London served us a Curry Laksa which one Lion said was “definitely my favourite curry laksa ever”. This offered two types of noodles, namely egg and vermicelli respectively, was garnished with fresh green mint leaves, and was filled with a buttery broth that elicited expressions of culinary pleasure.

BEST MAIN 2019

Biryani Rice Restaurant Awards London Indian Patri

(Shortlisted Nominees)

Winner: PATRI Thumka Biryani
Runner-up: PING PAN ASIAN Seafood Curry Laksa
Readers’ Choice: UMAMI Chicken Ramen

Patri confirms again that it isn’t just more than a curry house, but one that knows how to do one of the best biryanis we’ve had in some time.

Ramen Chicken Umami Japanese Ramen Sushi Restaurant West Ealing London Halal

Umami’s Chicken Ramen is amazing!

This Thumka Biryani was incredible, with an aroma coming through that was on another level, a clever impartment of smokiness no doubt achieved by the “jerk” style of cooking, and fantastic spices, which came through perceptibly and harmoniously, that ended in an intriguing gentle sweet aftertaste. Given how difficult biryanis are to execute, this trumped all other dishes had!

Sadly, Ping’s Seafood Curry Laksa, with two types of noodles and a vibrant orange broth garnished with fresh green mint leaves, just missed out. As a bowl that offered a melange of soothingly gentle spices tempered by the familiar creamy sweetness of the coconut, with just that hint of the sea lingering in the background, this is worth visiting Ping Pan Asian for.

We know how good Umami’s Halal chicken ramen; we’re glad you voted to make this yours too. This pipingly hot bowl contained crispy battered chunks of boneless chicken resting gently in a rich aromatic chicken broth. Prepared fresh-to-order, this will have you slowly savouring that soothing chicken broth down the final furlong. The best ramen thus far reviewed in the UK (NB. – be sure to phone ahead and make sure they have a batch of Halal chicken broth at the ready)!

BEST STARTER 2019

Turkish Restaurant London Knights Bridge Awards

(Shortlisted Nominees)

Winner: THE MANTL – Smoked Sheep’s Yoghurt
Runner-up: KANISHKA Atul’s Chicken Tikka Pie
Readers’ Choice: KANISHKA – Atul’s Chicken Tikka Pie

Kanishka Indian Halal restaurant Mayfair London chef Atul Kochhar

“One of the best pies we’ve ever had!”

Finally, The Mantl in Knightsbridge crosses the line with a starter of epic proportions. Their Smoked Sheep’s Yoghurt was just on a different level – a beautifully conceived plate, with every single element playing its part in making this one of the most exciting dishes had this year.

This was all about the interplay between said yoghurt and the creamy glazed figs. Honestly, we could have sat their chewing and savouring the juices of that beef forever! A triumph!

There’s a reason why one of the UK’s most accomplished Indian chefs, Atul Kochhar, has put his name to this signature starter. Atul’s Chicken Tikka Pie at the recently opened Kanishka, is our runner-up and your personal choice. We said it before and we’ll say it again: “One of the best pies we’ve ever had”!

BEST VEGGIE 2019

Vegetarian Vegan Halal London Indian Restaurant Awards

(Shortlisted Nominees)

Winner: FATT PUNDIT – Crackling Spinach
Runner-up: COMPTOIR V Jackfruit Nuggets
Readers’ Choice: COMPTOIR V – It’s No Jerk

This year’s Best Restaurant and Best Newcomer consistently featured across our awards this month with plenty of nominations. But it’s Fatt Pundit’s Crackling Spinach veggie dish that finally triumphs.

Jackfruit Comptoir V Moroccan Vegan Vegetarian Halal Restaurant Kensal Green Rise London

You’d think these Jackfruit Nuggers were actually chicken!

This was, both in terms of flavour and texture, was smothered in good amounts of sweet yoghurt and sauces, and was delicately crispy, had a candy-like sweetness to it, and a touch of chilli running through the background. A good sprinkling of pomegranate seeds added some crunch to a dish that we still remember with fondness.

Moroccan vegan restaurant, Comptoir V, was an impressive review with some dishes, including these two that were memorable. The meatiness of these Jackfruit Nuggets, which could so easily have passed for chicken nuggets, meant that this was going to be our runner-up. Coated in a teriyaki-style glaze that was warm, spicy, tangy and honey-sweetened to leave an addictively sticky-cum-chewy exterior, these were also crispy in just the right places.

As for their ‘It’s No Jerk’ burger, then it was described by one Lion as “the best veg burger I’ve had”. With a wholesomely chunky and loosely textured 3-bean patty and plenty going on, this was your choice.

BEST BEVERAGE 2019

Michelin Fine Dining Restaurant London Drinks Beverage

(Shortlisted Nominees)

Winner: QUILON Coast Guard
Runner-up: FATT PUNDIT Guava Chilli Sour
Readers’ Choice: CHAIIWALA Karak Chaii

Something truly exceptional was going to best this Coast Guard drink by Michelin restaurant Quilon. An exquisite concoction that was described at the time as “unlike anything we’ve ever had before!”

breakfast Chaii Wala Indian Halal restaurant Coventry Road Birmingham Karak Chaii

… and so do you it seems!

This was essentially an ice slushy which, though comprising of only two elements, namely watermelon and coconut, had us fooled into thinking there was rose water therein given its mellow sweetness. With a lovely frothy top, this light and fragrant beverage is still remembered with fondness.

As we said, Fatt Pundit offered a very strong all round menu with this Guava Chilli Sour being wonderfully balanced with the heat of the salty-cum-chilli rim doing the trick.

Practically everyone seems to think Chaiiwala‘s Karak chaii is outstandingly good. Of course, we thought so too and nominated this blend of black tea, milk, sugar and spices – all boiled and boiled on a low heat to develop such depth of flavour that this Karak Chaii has to be included for our awards. And of course, you guys concur.


Finally, the winner of the Azanti’s special box of six premium beverages is Halal Food Goal.

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