Page last updated at 13:39 GMT, Monday, 22 February 2010

Edinburgh mosque kitchen misses out on award

Edinburgh Central Mosque
Edinburgh Central Mosque is in Edinburgh's Potterrow

An Edinburgh mosque which provides meals for £4 served on paper plates has failed to win a top restaurant award.

Edinburgh Central Mosque's kitchen was listed in the best Indian restaurant category at this year's Scottish Restaurant Awards.

The award was won by Mother India in Edinburgh, while the Dhakin and Thali in Glasgow were also shortlisted.

Edinburgh Central Mosque's kitchen is a charity venture near Edinburgh University.

It was launched to counter negative feelings towards the Muslim community after the 9/11 attacks.

The whole kitchen was so happy when I told the staff
Mohammed Akbar
Edinburgh Central Mosque

It is run by 50 volunteers, with profits going to charity.

Payment for the food can be discretionary. If diners look a bit down on their luck the rule is they can get served for free three times.

Mohammed Akbar, Edinburgh Central Mosque's kitchen spokesman, told the BBC Scotland news website that it took several phone calls before he believed his kitchen had been shortlisted.

"When I first received a call about this I thought they were joking," he said.

"The whole kitchen was so happy when I told the staff.

"Our secret to great food is only using olive oil and two-year-old basmati rice, because the older the rice the better it cooks."

The mosque itself was opened in 1998 by King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, who paid for 90% of the building costs. Profits from its kitchen go towards charities in both Scotland and Pakistan.



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