A HEXHAM restaurant has been named the best of its kind in the region.

Saathi, run by Titu Ahad, won the award for Best Indian Restaurant in the North-East at the International Indian Chef of the Year awards.

The competition was set up in 1991 by world-famous chef Tommy Miah and the overall prize went to Barnard Castle-based chef Milon Miah, who received the coveted International Indian Chef of the Year Award at the ceremony held in London.

Milon gained entry to the prestigious competition after winning TV cooking competition The Chef.

Airing on Channel i (Sky 833), the series was the brainchild of Titu and his childhood friend Mohammad Alamgir – a correspondent for the channel.

Titu said: “It’s amazing that something that started in Hexham has gone international.

“The prize for winning The Chef was to be entered in Tommy Miah’s competition.

“This guy, from nothing, has become a superstar.”

Milon added: “I was in shock! Everyone else was jumping around and I was just sat there.”

Princess Anne awarded the prizes at the ceremony and Titu said: “I told her I’d cooked for her nephew!”

Saathi famously received an unexpected visit from Prince Harry in 2007.