Southwater residents dine out for free as restaurant celebrates Euro 2020

Hundreds of people enjoyed a free all day buffet at a Southwater restaurant yesterday to celebrate England reaching the finals of Euro 2020.

Mohammed Aktaruzzaman, owner of the New Haldi restaurant in Southwater, provided the food to villagers free of charge as a ‘thank-you’ for community support during the pandemic lockdowns - as well as celebrating England’s footballing prowess.

And villagers were delighted, along with Mohammed himself. The restaurant served more than 600 people between 12 noon and 7pm. Another 1,000 tried to make reservations, but the restaurant was full.

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“I feel sorry for people who couldn’t get in,” said Mohammed. “I had another 100 people turn up without booking.

Haldi restaurant in Southwater celebrated England reaching the finals of Euro 2020 by providing free meals for local residents

“I didn’t want to upset them so I gave them takeaways.”

He said he was ‘so happy’ that so many people enjoyed their meals and he paid tribute to his staff. “I have amazing staff and some school-leaver girls who came to help me. They were amazing all day.”

People in Southwater were also quick to express their appreciation of the restaurant on Facebook.

One woman said: “How extremely generous of Haldi Southwater. Their food is gorgeous. Lucky to have you in the village.”

One of the many families who dined out for free at Haldi, Southwater

Another said: “Wonderful gesture of goodwill. All staff working so hard to make sure everyone enjoyed themselves.”

And another added: “Amazing that’s what a village is all about, they have done us proud.”

And another: “Your generosity is amazing.”

Mohammed added: “I am so happy they came and enjoyed the meal. If England had won, we would have been even more delighted.”

Villagers were in buoyant mood as they dined out at Haldi restaurant in Southwater ahead of the Euro 2020 final
Staff at Haldi in Southwater were 'amazing'