2009 Award Winners ETHNIC RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR 2009
This year’s Ethnic Restaurant Award is unusual as it goes not to a restaurant but to a group, and pays tribute to the people who have developed this small chain of stylish, quality-driven restaurants and introduced Dublin diners to an authentic, contemporary Indian dining experience – culminating with the recent arrival of Ananda, in Dundrum, which was one of the most eagerly awaited restaurant openings of 2008.
This partnership between Asheesh Dewan, owner of the consistently excellent Jaipur restaurants, and Atul Kochhar, the first Indian chef to receive a Michelin star for his renowned London restaurant Benares, promised a new benchmark for Indian food in Ireland and that promise seems to have been fulfilled with éclat – due, in no small part, to Ananda's executive chef Sunil Ghai, who has been working in the Jaipur restaurants for eight years, and is known for an impressive understanding of Indian cooking and remarkable finesse with spicing.
But, even aside from the impact this glamorous new arrival has had on the Dublin dining scene, the longterm achievement of the Jaipur group is exceptional – and their innovative approach and attention to detail is well illustrated by the care that has been taken with wine lists: Jaipur restaurants were the first to introduce lists specifically selected to accompany spicy foods; many have since followed suit and it seems an obvious thing to do now, but it began with Jaipur.
And, by selecting the locations of new restaurants with equal care, stylish, authentic and well-priced Indian dining has been brought to a surprising proportion of the Dublin population – an achievement indeed.
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