After this week's revelation that Margate tops the UK league for boarded up shops, could it be about to lose the one thing that's still worth going there for?
A bit of background. Not having a Valentine to spend Valentine's Day with, I wasted this morning forlornly looking through the fluffy-buns and luvvy-lambs in this week's Isle of Thanet Gazunder in a desperate but ultimately vain attempt to spot my name. After those come the birthdays, then the deaths, and then we get to a section called 'Public Notices'.
And it was there that I saw this: 'Avada Restaurants Limited Company No. 05801294: Notice is hereby given pursuant to Section 98 of the Insolvency Act 1986 that a meeting of creditors of the above named company...' etc etc
You can read the full notice in the London Gazunder, where all such notices have to be published, by clicking here.
Now, who or what are Avada Restaurants? Well, the eagle eyed will remember the name from their credit card bills as none other than the Indian Princess, Margate's recently be-Michelined Indian eatery and for my money one of the best restaurants in this part of Kent. Avada Restaurants is also listed as the copyright holder at the bottom of their website here. Could it really be possible that they've gone into creditors' voluntary winding up (for this is, dear reader, the effect of Section 98 of the Insolvency Act 1986)?
I do hope this is all some ghastly mistake. Maybe it's just a holding company being wound up, and it won't affect the restaurant. I have enjoyed Vik and Dev's fine Indian fusion food and charming hospitality on many an occasion (even, in happier times, on Valentine's Day) since they set up shop in 2006. The Princess is nothing less than the jewel in Margate's crown, and as well as the Michelin mensh, Dev has just been made operations director at the Quex dining rooms. But on a more gloomy note he's been issuing dire warnings about slow business on his blog and Facebook sites recently. So much for the vaunted 'Turnip Effect'.
If the worst turns out to be true (maybe Dev can clarify it via Facebook or his blog) perhaps history will recall that the turning point was when it became known that Margate's top duffer, Sandy Beach, who has presided over the slow death of his town for seven long years now, had declared the Indian Princess to be his favourite restaurant!
Click here for Indian Princess website
Click here for Dev's blog