Belfast Telegraph

Bengal Brasserie strikes a deal to safeguard future

By Margaret Canning

A Belfast Indian restaurant business which fell into financial difficulties just three months after opening is now out of administration, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.

Bengal Brasserie II on the Lisburn Road - described by its owners as Ireland's biggest Indian restaurant - has been acquired by a sister company which runs a venue of the same name on Ormeau Road.

Both restaurants are run by entrepreneur Nigel Rahman, who moved to Northern Ireland from Bangladesh in the early 1990s. It is understood a six figure sum was paid for the second company in the deal reached last month.

The Lisburn Road restaurant opened to great fanfare in November last year, with glitzy opening parties held for suppliers and special guests.

But just three months later it went into administration after one of Mr Rahman's business partners withdrew his backing.

Now a company voluntary arrangement has been given the green light by the High Court. The venue will continue trading, safeguarding 25 jobs.

A spokesman for the restaurant's owners said the venue had traded at a profit during the administration, giving Mr Rahman's partners in the Ormeau Road venture "confidence" to go ahead with a rescue.

He said all creditors of the company had given their backing to the arrangement, which will see their debts repaid over a three to four year period.

Mr Rahman also applauded the "successful merger" with the Ormeau Road venue. "We are over the moon that the restaurant is now back on an even keel. We continued to trade during the last few months and it is thanks to our customers who stood by us throughout that period that we can make this announcement today."

Around £2m was spent on the Lisburn Road venue, which includes a 200 seater restaurant, business rooms with plasma screens and WiFi and tea rooms for private dining. However, administrators Lismore & Co were appointed by the High Court on January 26 to take over after Mr Rahman's investor withdrew.

Lismore & Co later obtained an injunction against Abbey Upholsterers in Carrickfergus, which helped fit out the restaurant, prohibiting anyone in the business from entering the Lisburn Road restaurant to remove furniture.