Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Asad Farewell to City's Curry King

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Asad Farewell to City's Curry King

Article excerpt

Byline: NOSTALGIA DAVE MORTON recalls the people and places of the North East EMAIL: TELEPHONE: 0191 2016437 WRITE TO: Dave Morton, Nostalgia Editor, The Chronicle, Groat Market, Newcastle, NE1 1ED @DaveSMorton Newcastle Chronicle - History Photosales - 0191 201 6000

NEWCASTLE city centre lost some of its stardust when this man passed away.

Today in 2008, countless thousands of revellers and diners were saddened by news of the death of curry king and restaurateur, Abdul Latif.

Aged just 52, he had suffered a fatal heart attack at his Gosforth home, we reported.

His restaurant, the award-winning Rupali in Newcastle's Bigg Market, had been dishing up chicken madras since it opened in 1977.

Mr Latif was one of Tyneside's more colourful characters.

A regular fixture in and around the Bigg Market for years, he would often stop yours truly for a chat in the street when I stepped out of the office.

Never shy, or short of ideas for self-publicity, Mr Latif introduced the famous "curry hell" challenge in 1994.

Purportedly the hottest curry in the world, if you finished the explosive dish you didn't have to pay for it - but few managed the feat. I can testify it was a painful experience!

In 2003, he offered free meals for five years to all British servicemen who served in Iraq.

He also arranged the world's longest curry delivery, Newcastle to Sydney, and he offered free curries for life to England rugby star Jonny Wilkinson and former Newcastle United manager Graeme Souness.

Famous visitors included cricket legend Imran Khan, and Lib Dem politicians David Steel and Paddy Ashdown, among others.

Always a lively restaurant and a favourite on the city's stag-do circuit, the Rupali - at a later point it was called Curry Capital - could still dish up curries of the highest quality to rival any the city. …

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