A RESTAURANT owner from Keighley is celebrating after his business won a top UK accolade.

Habib Ullah's Barlick Raj Balti premises took the Best Restaurant of the Year title at the Curry Life Awards.

He travels to the Barnoldswick eaterie from his Keighley home every day.

Habib said he was "thrilled" to receive the award.

"It shows that people like our food and that it’s of a high standard," says the 35-year-old.

He has been running the restaurant for 12 years, but says life hasn't been without challenges.

"I'm from humble beginnings and growing up it wasn't always easy to make ends meet," Habib adds.

"After doing a business degree I worked in multiple jobs and borrowed money from banks to open this restaurant.

"It has been a struggle, and I nearly went bankrupt during lockdown, but thanks to all my loyal customers who supported me I stayed open.

"I have created many jobs for young people from Keighley, and take them to work every day."

The Curry Life Awards were presented at a ceremony, attended by more than 500 people, at London Marriott in Grosvenor Square.

The awards, supported by Just Eat, celebrate some of the best in the UK's multi-billion-pound curry industry.

More than 40 accolades were handed out across five categories.

"Our heads are still spinning after the win!" says Habib.

"I feel joy after 12 years of hard work.

"It just shows that there’s always light at the end of the tunnel, especially after we nearly shut our doors for good.

"We’re so grateful to everyone who supports us because, without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today."

Habib works in partnership with his brother, Muhibur Rahman, the restaurant's head chef, who has more than 30 years’ experience.

To develop the business, Habib and his brother travel to India to network and learn from top chefs about ways to improve their food. Chefs from the restaurant visited India last year and received additional training.

The Curry Life Awards were created by brothers Syed Pasha and Syed Ahmed, who came to the UK from Bangladesh in the 1970s.

They launched Curry Life magazine 20 years ago, and the debut awards were held in 2009.

Speaking at the ceremony, Syed Pasha said: "We have visited restaurants up and down the country, and it made me realise precisely why the curry industry will not only survive, but thrive."