A Tauranga Indian restaurant has beaten more than 100 restaurants across New Zealand by taking out the top prize at this year’s Menulog Restaurant Awards.
Tauranga Indian restaurant Castle 91 won the nation’s People’s Choice Award after receiving the most votes from their customers, with West Auckland’s Bun Mee Kiwi, which specialise in delicious Vietnamese sandwiches, a close second.
More than 120 restaurants across Aotearoa competed for the People’s Choice crown in the Menulog Restaurant Awards.
This year the awards focused on both celebrating and supporting hospitality businesses at a challenging time for the industry.
“It’s not just about owning a restaurant, but being a valuable part of the local community,” says Castle 91 owner Mike Dhillon.
“They’re like family to us. During lockdown, we gave out free meals to anyone who was struggling.
“Even now we still provide food to anyone who has lost their job. We don’t want anyone going to bed hungry.”
Mike says customers are big fans of Castle 91’s signature Drunken Chicken dish, which is prepared with “a little bit of rum”.
“Our chefs create fresh, authentic and tasty dishes for the Tauranga people and our staff out front in the restaurant work hard with great smiles to provide the best possible service.
“It means the world to us that our local community got behind us and voted. Winning People’s Choice will mean we can continue to provide delicious meals and support our local community.”
Menulog commercial director Rory Murphy says the awards are about celebrating delicious local cuisine and this year was also focused on supporting restaurants at a challenging time.
“The hospitality and restaurant sector are incredibly resilient and throughout the awards we have heard incredible stories about restaurants like Castle 91, Rajas in Auckland, and Tauranga’s Punjab Express who have given away free food to support those in need and people struggling financially,” says Rory.
“That’s amazing community spirit.
“We congratulate Castle 91, and all those involved in the awards, and look forward to seeing them continue to deliver the same great service and delicious food that keeps loyal customers coming back.”
The winning People’s Choice restaurant receives an advertising and media package worth $2500, to help promote and grow their business, with $1000 to put towards their venue, along with other prizes.
To see a full list of the winning restaurants, head to www.restaurantawards.menulog.co.nz/