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Historic curry house in £100k fight for its future

New battle lines are drawn over Strand restaurant that was saved from demolition in 2018

08 February, 2021 — By Harry Taylor

The India Club restaurant, where the owners are appealing for £100,000 to safeguard its future

THE owners of a historic Indian restaurant are appealing for £100,000 to safeguard its future.

The India Club in the Strand launched the crowdfunder last month in the face of a major rent hike proposed by landlord Marston Properties. An initial target of £25,000 has already been met.

Three generations of the family have run the business, nestled up a flight of stairs from the busy central London thoroughfare with the Hotel Strand Continental above it.

The dining room was founded more than 50 years ago by India’s first high commissioner to the country, Krishna Menon.

Its founding members included prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Lady Mountbatten, and it quickly became associated with post-independence India.

The online appeal has attracted support from numerous culinary critics, including The Observer’s food writer Jay Rayner.

The appeal says: “Unfortunately, we have been served with a notice to vacate the premises by our property-developer landlord. This comes at a time when we have worked tirelessly to survive the pandemic, like many in the hospitality industry. Our aim has always been to preserve the India Club for future generations and we are now appealing for your help.”

In 2018 the curry house was saved from demolition after a petition to save it was signed by 26,000 people.

At the time, its owner Yagdar Marker said he was “delighted that Westminster Council has refused an application that would have seen a unique and iconic piece of London’s ­history disappear”.

Former owner Yagdar Marker

A spokesperson for Marston Properties said: “Marston Properties is proud to have been investing in buildings in London for over 125 years.

“We have owned an interest in the building since 1981 and originally purchased it with the intention of running the hotel one day. For some time we have been concerned about the viability and condition of the building.

“Many options have been explored over the last few years to resolve these issues including seeking planning permission for two different redevelopment schemes. We have had many discussions with Goldsand Hotels, who run the Strand Continental Hotel, incorporating the India Club Bar and Restaurant at the property, but have been unable to achieve a mutually agreeable solution with them.

“As the landlord we are entitled, following the expiry of the lease, to regain possession to occupy the building for our own business use and therefore notice was served on Goldsand Hotels in August 2020.

“It will be for the courts to determine our entitlement to regain possession and occupy the building for our own use.

“Marston Properties and Goldsand Hotels are engaging in the court process and therefore further comment from Marston Properties is not appropriate.”

• See: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/save-india-club


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