Casa Cruz in London's Notting Hill could lose its licence after the restaurant hosted singer Rita Ora's 30th birthday party during lockdown in November.
The Metropolitan police is seeking for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to revoke the venue's premises licence. The case was discussed by the council's licensing sub-committee yesterday, which has the power to modify, suspend or revoke the licence.
According to council documents, on 28 November 2020, when England was under a national lockdown, representatives of Ora contacted Scottie Bhattarai seeking to hold an event inside the premises for ‘drinks and nibbles' and offered £5,000 for using the venue.
Bhattarai attended the restaurant to facilitate the event, which is understood to have hosted about 17 people, including Cara and Poppy Delevingne. Police attended the premises but were unable to gain access with the windows blacked out and doors locked.
Police visited the premises on 1 December to meet with Bhattarai, during which meeting he stated that he had allowed the venue to be used on 28 November but that he was the only person on duty at the premises and the arrangement was purely between him and the party organiser.
He was asked to show officers the CCTV footage from the evening, to which he stated he could not do as the security from the private party had asked for it to be turned off.
Bhattarai also apologised and stated that he was "greedy", although at the time no payment had been taken in relation to the event. He is understood to have been dismissed from the company.
A lawyer speaking on the committee on behalf of the police described it as "one of the most egregious and the most notorious breaches of the regulations committed on licensed premises during the pandemic".
A lawyer on behalf of the restaurant said the company "unequivocally and unconditionally condemns" the incident and that the director did not know about or authorise the party.
The licensing authority said it has received 44 representations in support of the premises.
The council will make its decision behind closed doors and the police's investigation into the individual and company are ongoing.