A JOHNSTONE business narrowly missed out on the title of Scotland’s best curry restaurant in 2009.

The Ashoka was highly commended by judges in the British Curry Awards but lost out on the top prize to a restaurant in Aberdeen.

However, this didn’t dampen the spirits of owner Cook Gill, who was delighted to have been nominated.

Cook said at the time: “It’s been excellent, the staff have worked really hard and to be chosen as runner-up is a great achievement.

“Next year, hopefully, we can bring the title to Johnstone.”

Cook travelled to London to attend the awards ceremony with his manager Rakesh and chef Rana at the beginning of November that year.

The trio joined 1,500 people at the awards ceremony, which was held at London’s Battersea Evolution.

Guests included Conservative party leader at the time, David Cameron.

Cook said: “It was an excellent ceremony.

“It was a nice venue, fabulous location, and it was really well done.

“The hosts for the evening were Chris Tarrant, from Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and Sir Trevor McDonald.

“It was a really great night. Just to see these guys up there was really good.”

Cook also praised Mr Cameron, who he thought came across well at the event.

He added: “A lot of the Asian community were there and I think he proved to be really popular with them.”

The 2009 ceremony was the first time a leader of one of the UK’s main political parties had attended the prestigious awards.

Mr Cameron told the packed audience it was a pleasure to be there.

He added: “The British curry industry is a great success story. It has shown how people from all backgrounds, with different cultures, can come together as one and it has shown exactly what an open-minded, dynamic and enterprising country can achieve.

“Everyone here this evening should be incredibly proud of what they’ve achieved.”

Cook and his staff thanked all of their customers for their continued support.

He said: “If it wasn’t for the support of the customers, we wouldn’t be here in the first place.

“The customers really push us to achieve and we thank them for that.”

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