RESTAURANTS and pubs in Oxfordshire have been singled out for national recognition.

Spice Lounge in Burford High Street won the inaugural Asian Restaurant and Takeaway Awards, for best in the South Central region.

Celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott was one of the awards presenters on Sunday, at the InterContinental Hotel at the O2.

Restaurants were nominated by the public and had to earn their place at regional ‘cook-off’ battles, including one at Oxford Brookes University.

The new awards won praise from Prime Minister Theresa May, who said they were “an excellent opportunity to celebrate the craft of the most talented chefs and highly skilled service staff responsible for producing exceptional British Asian Cuisine”.

At the same time Zheng in Walton Street, which serves Chinese and Malaysian food was picked out by restaurant critic Giles Coren in The Sunday Times, as one of the his top 100 restaurants in the UK.

He said: “I haven’t been here for a bit but in 2015 I wrote that it was ‘possibly the best authentic Chinese/Malaysian restaurant in the country in a good-for-nothing one-horse town on the road to Birmingham’. And I stand by that.”

Also praised by Mr Coren was The Hare at Milton-under-Wychwood.