A KEIGHLEY restaurateur has spoken of his pride after being chosen again to do battle for a coveted national title.

Shimla Spice is one of four restaurants selected through a public vote to represent Bradford in the Curry Capital of Britain contest.

The team is the the same one which steered Bradford to a record fifth straight win last year in the annual competition.

Faisal Hussain, manager of Shimla Spice in South Street, said: "We're the only restaurant which has represented the district since the start and we're delighted to be part of the team again.

"We've been involved since I left school and it's a great achievement to have been part of it for so long. We're very proud.

"I would like to say a big thank-you to all our customers for supporting us and voting."

Shimla is lining up once again alongside Akbar's in Thornbury, Aakash at Cleckheaton and Kipling's, Greengates.

This year, in a change to the way the competition is run, the contest will first find the Curry Capital of England.

This winning city will then be pitted against the victors from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and London to find the overall Curry Capital of Britain for 2016.

Patricia Tillotson – tourism manager at Bradford Council’s Visit Bradford team, which co-ordinates the entry – said they would all now be working hard on this year’s bid.

She added: "We're delighted with the outcome of the public vote and look forward to working with the restaurants that the public has chosen to work alongside us as part of this year's team.

"We've a huge task ahead of us if we're to defend our title, win the competition and bring the accolade of Curry Capital of Britain back to Bradford for a record-breaking sixth time. That said, I'm confident we have a strong bid and an even stronger team behind us and we will give it our all!

"The format of the competition this year means it's going to be tougher than ever to retain our crown.

"That said, we've some great plans up our sleeve and are excited to have some terrific partners on board to help deliver this year's bid.

"I really do hope locals, as well as curry lovers far and wide, get behind us and support us once again in the competition by voting for the city."

Peter Grove, founder and organiser of the Curry Capital of Britain contest, said: “Bradford has found a magic formula and understands the underlying message of the event, which is to promote cohesion where there was division."

As part of the competition, all entering cities must host a range of fundraising events, with proceeds going to The Curry Tree – a charitable fund, raising and allocating money to deserving causes concerned with poverty, disaster and malnutrition.

People can vote for Bradford via visitbradford.com/currycapital, by e-mailing vote@fedrest.com or in person at visitor information centres.

Voting closes on September 1.