Safwaan and team celebrate another awards success at lavish ceremony
- Credit: The Guard House
A Royston eatery has been named among the nation’s best Thai restaurants at this year’s Asian Curry Awards.
The Guard House, in Kneesworth Street - run by Royston restaurateur Safwaan Choudhury - was shortlisted in the national ‘Thai Restaurant of the Year’ category at the red carpet event.
The restaurant - which is currently takeaway only - was up against seven other establishments from across the country, and picked up a ‘highly commended’ award.
A shortlist of the nation’s best Asian restaurants was drawn from over 100,000 public votes before a panel of judges led by Pat Chapman, editor of the Cobra Good Curry Guide, sent mystery diners for feedback.
The judges said, “It was surprising to find The Guard House isn’t open for eating in. That said, we were delighted with the warm welcome from management and their reasons for not yet opening the restaurant were understandable.
"Thus, we studied their menu and ordered a takeaway to taste the food. This proved a difficult task for judging, whether they should be shortlisted as a restaurant or as a takeaway.
"However, we were thoroughly impressed by the décor, well-spaced layout and overall look of the dining area visible on the ground floor of this fascinating building steeped in history.
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"Coupled with the friendly service from staff, and the fact we really enjoyed the authentic flavours of our meal resulted in full marks!”
Following the swanky do - held in association with Just Eat London’s Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane, and hosted by BBC presenter Kate Silverton - Rung Kuajaroon, general manager, described her joy.
She said: “To say I was astonished is an understatement. It’s a great honour to be shortlisted, but to win an award was amazing. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my team and our customers for all their support.”
Andrew Kenny, UK managing director of Just Eat, said: “Just Eat has worked closely with the Asian Curry Awards for a number of years.
"As we begin to recover from the pandemic, I’m delighted to celebrate our partnership by helping to recognize the fantastic achievements of those in our industry who have worked tirelessly through the last 18 months and continue to do so.”
Owner of The Guard House, Safwaan Choudhury, said: “It’s a privilege to be shortlisted amongst the best names in hospitality industry. We enjoyed a great night out after what seems like forever and a day in lockdown and restrictions!
“I am tremendously pleased for our team, who thoroughly deserve this recognition for their hard work and dedication in delivering royal Thai cuisine to the people of Royston.”
Safwaan opened his first venture at 18, Royston Tandoori, which he left to reopen the British Raj Express.
He launched The Guard House venture in January during lockdown, running as a takeaway and home delivery service while the restaurant was being refurbished - and has confirmed he won't be able to have dine-in customers yet.
He said: “The Guard House dates back to the times of King James I, and this is where the king’s bodyguard used to live," he said. "Restoring this wonderful premises to its former glory has been no easy feat.
"Meticulous planning has resulted in an elegant refurbishment, whilst retaining and preserving the charming character of this Grade II-listed building.
"Frames of Thai silk art adorn the walls, whilst the colours of purple and cream furniture are inspired by the theme of Thai Airways.”
"With the ever-changing situation surrounding COVID and further restrictions, I believe it would not be sensible to open our restaurant to dine-in at this time.
"While I am eager to welcome our customers, I worry there may be another lockdown ahead of us; which would cripple any restaurant, let alone a newly opened one.
“For now, we look forward to continue delivering our delicious award-winning food for customers to enjoy in the comfort of their own home.”
For more information go to https://www.guardhousethai.co.uk/