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Credit crunch scuppers Urban Turban expansion

26 January 2009 by
Credit crunch scuppers Urban Turban expansion

Michelin-starred chef Vineet Bhatia has scrapped plans to expand his casual restaurant concept Urban Turban after being "hit by the credit crunch".

Bhatia launched the restaurant, which specialises in Indian tapas inspired by the country's "street eateries", in west London to critical acclaim last year. A second site was planned for Richmond.

However, after Urban Turban's successful launch the restaurant in Westbourne Grove is now "struggling to stay open" and expansion plans have been shelved.

Bhatia's wife and business partner, Rashima, said the restaurant's bookings had dropped dramatically.

"Urban Turban has been hit by the downturn. Unfortunately we had just about three months of trading before the credit crunch hit the sector," she told the Evening Standard.

"The rent and lease on the property is high and so we have to tighten our belts with manpower. Staffing stays the same but we have cut shifts. My last resort is bringing in a private investor to bail it out."

However, Bhatia added that the couple still had plans to expand internationally, with two restaurants set to open in Qatar and Libya later this year.

"In March we are opening the Saffron Lounge in Doha, Qatar, and later in the year, India by Vineet Bhatia will open in Libya," she said.

Urban Turban to open in London's Westbourne Grove >>

The Telegraph's Mark Palmer finds service not up to scratch at Urban Turban >>

Tamarind branches out into event catering >>

Indian restaurant Trishna to come to London's Marylebone >>

By Kerstin Kühn

E-mail your comments to Kerstin Kühn here.

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