A FAMILY business has been shortlisted at the annual prestigious British Curry Awards.

All three restaurants of The Valley Group, originally set up by Daraz Aziz in 1991, were shortlisted for Best in the North East at this year's 'Curry Oscars'.

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The business owns The Valley in Corbridge, The Valley Junction 397 in Jesmond, and Cilantro in Hexham. 

The Valley in Corbridge was the first of the three restaurants created by Daraz, 66, which celebrated its 30th birthday last year.

Cilantro, a fusion Indo-Latino tapas restaurant, was set up by Daraz's son Nabil more than three years ago when it was rebranded from The Valley Connection, established in 2001.

Nabil said he had 'always wanted to open something slightly different' to traditional Indian cuisine.

Jesmond's branch, The Valley Junction 397, is run by Daraz's brother Locku Rahman and his son Naeeb, set up in 1997.

Nabil, 31, said being shortlisted for the award is 'huge' and it is one of the most prestigious award ceremonies in the hospitality calendar.

"We're up against really good restaurants in the area and nationwide, and it's just nice to be recognised for our hard work."

Newcastle and Northumberland establishments have beaten thousands of other nominated establishments to represent the North East region.

The Valley Group has been shortlisted previously for the award and has won several times. Nominations are made by public votes before a panel of judges decide which businesses are shortlisted.

Nabil said the occasion is a family event and they try to get as many of the family to go to the ceremony in London as possible.

The Valley in Corbridge is home to the 'Passage to India' train service, which welcomes parties from Newcastle.

Diners can enjoy drinks on the train and order their food before arriving at The Valley.

Nabil said his father has been in the restaurant industry since the 1970s when he was a teenager, before he was inspired to set up his own business in Corbridge. 

"Someone used to dine at the restaurant in Newcastle he had been a part of since the 1970s, and affluent people from Corbridge and Hexham encouraged him to go to Corbridge and set up there."

Summarising The Valley Group, Nabil said it was 'authentic Indian food served with style'.

The awards ceremony is held in London and will take place on Monday, November 28 for its 18th anniversary.