Dad desperately appeals for customers at the oldest curry house in east London08/12/2020
We know the devastating effect of the pandemic on businesses.
After all, the Eat Out To Help Out scheme we’ve been enjoying Monday to Wednesday is the government’s attempt to boost revive the hospitality industry.
Some businesses are still struggling. We recently explored how Brick Lane is one area that has been on the decline since before the pandemic.
Unfortunately, other curry houses are following suit.
Halal Restaurant in Aldgate is said to be the oldest Indian eatery in East London, having opened up in 1939.
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Though it was managed by different owners since it opened, since the 1970s it has been owned by Mahaboob Narangoli.
After lockdown saw businesses close their doors and the city send its workers home, Halal Restaurant struggled.
When it opened back up in July, Mahaboob’s daughter Mehnaz tweeted side-by-side pictures of her dad and granddad in the establishment.
She pleaded Twitter users to visit the joint and since the tweet went viral, Mahaboob has seen a rise in customers – but he still needs your support.
‘We are a restaurant at the gateway to the city,’ Mahaboob tells Metro.co.uk.
‘Almost all our lunch trade (which is our main trade) comes from city clients, insurance brokers bankers, etc. Evening and weekend trade came mainly from the local residents and tourists.
‘It was a real shock when we were told to shut the restaurant due to the lockdown, at that time we thought it might be just for a few weeks.
‘Who would have thought that it would last this long and it has still not gone away?’
Mahaboob explains that his dad took over the restaurant in 1972. The family had a few other Indian restaurants in the area but Halal Restaurant remained the main business.
When the restaurant reopened as lockdown measures began to ease off, business was off to a slow start.
Mahaboob said: ‘We reopened in July, it was busy on the first two days as we had few bookings from our regulars who missed us, since then, it went so quiet. [I’m] not sure how long I can go on like this.
‘We have changed our opening times, some days we don’t even open for lunch as there is no one around here.’
The dad added that the precariousness of the situation makes it difficult to gauge when the business will be back to normal.
‘It is very sad to see the city is not back, none of the offices are back yet, some of them saying September some October and some in the new year
‘Unless the office and some of the pubs start opening nearby there won’t be much business for us or anyone in the same trade.’
Mahaboob is grateful to daughter Mehnaz for renewing interest in his eatery.
He said: ‘With my daughter’s viral tweet, we have had few bookings for next week. She certainly helped us with that.
‘We always needed that bit of a push, this could be the push we were looking for.’
If all that’s got you craving an Indian, you can head down to 2 St Mark Street, Whitechapel, to visit Halal Restaurant.
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