Staff at a fine dining Indian restaurant are celebrating their fifth award in less than two years.

Grand Trunk Road in High Road, South Woodford, was given the title of ‘Best Restaurant and Takeaway in East London’ at this year’s Asian Restaurant and Takeaway Awards (ARTA) awards.

Owner Rajesh Suri, 56, believes the dishes inspired by authentic Indian cuisine combined with his friendly employees is what continues to lure customers back through the doors.

In early 2016, Rajesh and head chef Dayashankar Sharma spent four-and-a-half weeks travelling along 1,600 miles of the Grand Trunk Road in India, one of Asia’s oldest and longest roads.

It was here that the pair found the ideas behind dishes which are a favourite among South Woodford locals, such as 18th century lamb shank and baby squid stuffed with mixed seafood and grilled in a traditional Tandoori clay oven.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Owner Rajesh has praised head chef Dayashankar for his talent in the kitchen

“He’s such a creative person,” Rajesh said of Dayashankar.

“This is where he got his inspiration for the food. Every single dish is from India. It’s totally exceptional - people have never experienced anything like this.”

After returning to the UK, the business partners opened the Essex restaurant in November 2016 and within eight months it was listed in the Michelin Guide.

The ARTA award saw Grand Trunk Road go through a rigorous process with judges scouring through reviews on Trip Advisor and social media before it went to a public vote.

Dayashankar also had to take part in a live cook-off against 15 other chefs before the restaurant was chosen for the top prize.

The award, which was presented to the team at a ceremony on Sunday, September 30, at the O2, came just one week after the restaurant took second prize in the Essex Food Awards.

“It was not an easy award to win,” said Rajesh.

“It’s a wonderful thing and we are extremely proud to be part of this award and we’ve got a beautiful trophy.

“We are always pleasantly surprised to get an award.

“You keep on moving forward and try to be more creative.

“It’s a wonderful feeling to be part of the elites and we’re going to keep on pushing forward.

“We had a great after-service drink with the staff and everybody is so chuffed.”

The ARTA awards are the most prestigious celebration of South Asian cuisine in the UK.

The awards’ charity partner, Chance to Shine, was represented on the night by ambassador and former England cricketer, Devon Malcom.