“a unique dining experience”

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Both the Maharaja and owner, Siraj Ali have received tremendous recognition from industry experts, media and Parliament, including Pat Chapman, Britain’s first and foremost authority on Asian food, also Chairman of the Curry Club and Author of the Cobra Good Curry Restaurant Guide

Not long after it’s opening, the reputation of The Maharaja reached Britain’s lawmakers in Westminster and was chosen to cater for the launch of the first nation-wide Bangladesh Festival of Food and Culture at the House of Commons in 2001. The well-known restaurant even received praise during a debate at the House of Commons.

‘Succulent, sizzling, stupendous’, is how Celebrity Chef, Ainsley Harriott described the Essex Restaurant’s signature dish, after a night of joy at the Tiffin Cup 2007 South East Asian Restaurant Awards in 2007, beating off 10,000 restaurants in the UK.

It’s not just parliament that took note, the culinary team at the Maharaja and nutrition expert, Shahena Ali who trained at the restaurant, were invited to cook the Maharaja signature dishes, as a festive treat for peace-keeping troops– the popular dishes were flown 4,000 miles, paid for by a wealthy pilot who was blown away by her culinary skills.

Shahena Ali and the team were hand picked to cook the special meal for 150 United Nations soldiers, based in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. Shahena has also featured on BBC Radio, UKTV Food and Channel 4 programme ‘Taste’.

With the Maharaja, Siraj Ali transformed a small town business into one of the most successful Indian restaurants in the country, with innovative cuisine, friendly service and a unique atmosphere that takes customers back to the days of the Maharajas of India.


  • In 2001 the Maharaja was chosen by MPs to cater for the first nationwide Festival of Food and Culture at the House of Commons to represent the South East.
  • In 2007, the Maharaja came second in the Tiffin Cup Parliamentary Restaurant Awards 2007 beating 10,000 national restaurants.
  • In 2008, Siraj Ali receives the ‘Channel S Award’ for his years of charity work.
  • In 2008 British Bangladeshi Who’s Who ‘Outstanding Contribution’ Award for his achievement in Hospitality and Catering.
  • Siraj Ali was officially listed as no 32 most influential British Bangladeshi in the British Bangladeshi Who’s Who 2008 publication, by the British Bangla Media Group. The publication lists the top 300 most influential British Bangladeshis in the UK, supported by the House of Commons, David Cameron and the High Commission for the People’s Republic of Bangladesh for his longstanding contribution to the hospitality and catering industry, as well as his charity work.
  • The Maharaja has featured in the ‘Best in South East’ top ten lists at the British Curry Awards several times, beating over 11,000 national restaurants to be one of the top ten in the South East
  • In 2009, Siraj was joint winner of the Bangladeshi Caterer’s Association ‘Caterer of the Year’ Award, for the South East, one of the most respected accolades in the Bangladeshi restaurant sector
  • In 2015 Siraj was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by Currylife magazine for contribution to the catering and hospitality industry.