Page last updated at 11:32 GMT, Friday, 19 March 2010

Rhayader restaurant Spice Cottage wins curry crown

The winning team from The Spice Cottage
The winning team from The Spice Cottage celebrate their victory

A small Powys town with the most pubs per person in the UK now has the best curry house in Wales.

The Spice Cottage in Rhayader beat off red hot competition from three other finalists to scoop the title at an awards ceremony in Cardiff.

As part of the competition, chefs at the restaurant used leeks and lamb from the Elan Valley nearby to create a Welsh curry.

The town has 12 bars for its 2,075 residents, or about 173 people per pub.

Judges described the Spice Cottage as a "unique gem in the heart of mid Wales".

We'd never used leeks before in the kitchen, but have now decided to start using them on a regular basis in some of our dishes
Muhamad Rab, manager, Spice Cottage

Restaurant manager Muhamad Rab said: "We opened the restaurant in Rhayader three and a half years ago.

"I started working in the industry in 1987 as an apprentice waiter and this is the first award I've won.

"We enjoyed the experience of using really Welsh leeks as part of the competition.

"We'd never used leeks before in the kitchen, but have now decided to start using them on a regular basis in some of our dishes.

North: Asia Indian Restaurant, Llandudno and Sopna, near Caernarfon
Mid and west: Spice Cottage, Rhayader
South: Koh-i-Noor, Newport

"The Really Welsh Curry which we created especially for the competition using Welsh leeks, and lamb from the Elan Valley, will shortly be included on our main menu."

One of the judges, Nerys Howell said: "We as judges felt privileged to have discovered this unique gem in the heart of rural mid Wales.

"The team at the Spice Cottage demonstrated a real understanding of food and the importance of using good quality ingredients prepared carefully and skilfully.

"We were impressed with Spice Cottage's commitment to banning the use of artificial colouring and reducing the amount of oil and fat used in the preparation of dishes, showing sensitivity to today's discerning customer."

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