But just three short years later Jumaira Spice in Ecclesfield has risen like a phoenix from the flames to clinch The Star’s Curry House Of The Year 2016 accolade.
Since September readers have voted for which restaurant they thought had the best bhajis, most prized poppodoms and should be given the coveted crown from the awards.
Hundreds of votes were registered but in the end the spice could only be right for one overall winner.
Abdul and his wife have worked hard to breathe new life into their business after a fire closed them down in 2013, just one year after opening on The Common.
With the help of their “lovely, loyal customers” they re-opened their gleaming restaurant with a new name and have established a strong reputation for both food and service, locally and further afield.
Their buffet table is but one speciality in their dining rooms, which are lit by crystal chandeliers..
“We are very happy to be voted the best curry house,” smiled Mr Ghafoor.
“It is our first time.
“We had a difficult time after the fire, both financially and emotionally, but family helped us to get back on our feet, and our good customers.
“We are really proud of what we do and customers travel here from all areas. Many reviews say they like our friendly staff, but we don’t have to try to be friendly, we have easy rapport with the people who come here.
“We would like to say thank you to all our customers because it is them who made this award possible.”
Second place in The Star’s curry competition was Viraaj, Chesterfield Road, Woodseats, and in third place was Chutney, on White Lane, Gleadless.
Sufi Miah, from, Viraaj, said: “It is our food that brings people back. We love to be creative and prepare new dishes. Every year I, or our chef, go to Bangladesh where we are from, and bring back ingredients we can not buy here.
“We cannot reproduce exactly the dishes as they are cooked in Bangladesh but we adapt them to suit people’s taste here. It is a different way of cooking.”