Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik last night paid tribute to Abdul Latif, the charismatic North-East restaurant owner who died of a heart attack in his sleep over the weekend. The former Newcastle councillor said he had met Mr Latif before his first television interview and the Bangladeshi businessman had helped to calm his nerves.
He said: “He told me to make a show of happiness to myself and I would immediately feel better. I tried it and he was right.”
Mr Latif was renowned for serving what was billed as the world’s hottest curry at his Indian restaurant in Newcastle’s Bigg Market.
“He did hot curries and cool politics,” Mr Opik said.
“The man was an institution. I will always remember his generosity of spirit and the warmth of his soul.
“He always had something good to say and if he was ever angry, I didn’t see it.”