British Kebab Awards: are these Britain's best kebab shops?
The best kebabs in the UK were celebrated at the third annual awards ceremony, which aims to change the image of the late-night staple.
The kebab is famous as the go-to meal after a heavy (read: alcohol-laden) night out.
But there is much more to the grilled meat than soaking up five pints.
At the third annual British Kebab Awards last night, the best kebab shops around the UK were celebrated in a glittering ceremony.
Organiser Ibrahim Dogus, who is founder and director of the Centre for Turkey Studies, called on MPs and Ed Miliband to help promote the event and take part in the judging process.
This year, a panel of 19 judges included Keith Vaz MP, Baroness Hussain-Ece and Andy Love MP. In total, 2,000 businesses around the country were nominated across 14 categories.
The award for best takeaway in London was given to Super Kebab (and its sister restaurant Super Ocakbasi, on the same road) while the best takeaway outside of London was named as Botan Kebab, Burger and Pizza House in Liverpool.
Though few of us would associate kebabs with upmarket restaurants, the awards include a gong for "Best fine dining", which was this year given to Sheesh in Chigwell, Essex. Sheesh used to be a kebab joint at the top of Queen's Road, Buckhurst Hill. The Apprentice judge Alan Sugar financed its move to the grander Chigwell High Road and lives 150 yards down the road.
The kebab awards were established in 2013 and, says their founder, 34-year-old Ibrahim Dogus, aim “to help the industry and the community to realise its potential”.
THE AWARDS IN FULL
- Best takeaway in London: Super Kebab Ocakbasi, Stoke Newington
- Best takeaway outside of London: Botan Kebab, Burger and Pizza House, Liverpool
- Best fine dining: Sheesh restaurant, Chigwell, Essex
- Best value: Selale Restaurant, Harringay, London
- Just Eat best delivery restaurant: Kebabalicious, Manchester
- Best newcomer kebab restaurant: Pivaz Restaurant, Hackney
- Best in Northern Ireland: The Sphinx, Belfast
- Best in Wales: Pizza Choice, Cardiff
- Best in Scotland: Javits, Edinburgh
- Best young chef: Murat Poyraz and Mazlum Demi
- Best chef award of the year: Haci Akdogan
WHAT IS A KEBAB?
Turkey claims it created the kebab but Greece and some south Asian countries believe they also have a claim to its creation.
According to the organisers of the British Kebab Awards, kebab, or kebap as it's known in Turkish, comes from the word kabāb and can be traced back to Mesopotamia.
It refers to meat cooked with flames, and usually the argument is that small pieces were used to ensure the meat cooked quicker.
Shish (or sis in Turkish) is another widely known version of the kebab and there are variants of the food in countries such as Nepal, Bulgaria and Afghanistan. Arabs and Asians sometimes refer to kebabs as shawarma.
The food has proved to be so popular that Berlin now boasts more kebab stands than Istanbul, according to the New York Times.
THE HISTORY OF THE KEBAB IN THE UK
The first doner kebab shop in the UK is believed to have opened in Stoke Newington, north London, in 1966. According to the award organisers, it was called Hodja Nasreddin, owned by Cetin Bukey.
There are now nearly 20,000 kebab shops in the UK, employing 70,000 people. At the awards on Wednesday, the audience was told this means 1.3m kebabs are sold per day.