Hot Harriet's Ipswich curry tip

LABOUR'S new deputy leader has a hot tip when asked about her favourite curry house - come to Ipswich.Because south London MP Harriet Harman, who represents an area well-known for its ethnic food, has a real soft spot for one of Ipswich's best-known restaurants.

LABOUR'S new deputy leader has a hot tip when asked about her favourite curry house - come to Ipswich.

Because south London MP Harriet Harman, who represents an area well-known for its ethnic food, has a real soft spot for one of Ipswich's best-known restaurants.

She was taken to the Maharani in Norwich Road for a Labour Party fund-raising evening last November, and liked the place so much that she has been back several times since.

Ms Harman has a home in Suffolk and likes coming into Ipswich incognito - she has several friends in the local Labour hierarchy and it was no surprise when the town's MP Chris Mole backed her bid for the deputy leadership.

And Maharani boss Manik Miah said her favourite dish of the moment has a real zing about it - mustard chicken.

“She likes to try some of our newer dishes and the mustard chicken was a real favourite,” he said.

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“I think she just likes to come here to get away from it all. She got to know the restaurant when she was brought here by Chris and the Labour Party people last year.”

Mustard chicken is one of the more uncommon dishes served by the restaurant which regulalry plays host to Ipswich mayors' fund-raising curry nights.

Ms Harman isn't the first senior Labour figure to get a taste for Ipswich's cuisine - although she seems to have more luck in finding her restaurant than her former boss.

During a visit to the town back in 2002, Tony Blair spoke at a Labour rally and then headed off to London.

Before leaving the Corn Exchange he asked a Labour Party member: “Where can we pick up some fish and chips?”

He was recommended J's on Cambridge Drive - and after hearing he had had fish and chips in Ipswich we contacted the shop to find out what they thought about his visit.

“We didn't see him,” a member of staff said. “He must have sent in a detective we didn't recognise although he must have blended in well because there was no one really different in here that night!”

It later turned out that Mr Blair had put in an appearance at The Golden Fish on Norwich Road - and it turned out his driver had been unable to find the Cambridge Drive shop!

A Labour Party member said at the time: “Don't say he went to the Norwich Road shop, it's not in the Ipswich constituency!”

That part of Norwich Road was in the neighbouring seat of Central Suffolk and North Ipswich.

RESTAURANTS have always been important to Labour politicians!

Tony Blair and Gordon Brown carved up the party leadership over a meal at the exclusive London restaurant Granita in 1994.

Tony Blair regularly ordered takeaways from an exclusive Indian restaurant in Soho when he was Prime Minister.

The House of Commons has a restaurant which specialises in curry dishes - to make sure MPs don't leave the Palace of Westminster during evening debates to visit nearby Indian restaurants!

Former foreign secretary Robin Cook was a great fan of curries, and insisted on eating them when he travelled the world for the government.

However ex deputy prime minister John Prescott is not a fan - he prefers Chinese meals!

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