Award-winning restaurant caught in flood drama

THE owner of an award-winning North East restaurant has vowed it is business as usual despite having to throw out thousands of pounds worth of stock after the restaurant’s lower ground floor was flooded during the devastating storms.

Daraz Aziz, owner of The Valley in Corbridge, had been on a high as the restaurant impressed judges of a national cooking competition at the House of Commons last week.

But he was forced to return from London early when the storms battered the North East on Thursday, leaving a trail of devastation in their wake.

The Valley, which is built on the North platform of Corbridge station, suffered damage to its fridges in the lower ground floor after half a foot of water came in, as well as damage to the flooring of the bar area on the same level.

The Valley, which is famed for its Passage to India train service whereby diners board a train at Newcastle or Carlisle Station and waiters in traditional costume serve drinks and take pre-orders, also lost business when cancellations came thick and fast as the storms meant the trains stopped running.

The drama unfolded less than 24 hours after The Valley came fourth overall in the Tiffin Cup, a competition organised by MPs to find the best South Asian restaurant in the UK.

Mr Aziz said: “We were so thrilled to have been cooking in front of MPs at the House of Commons and were privileged to have been nominated – only to be attacked by Mother Nature just a few hours later.

“The torrential rain came flooding into the restaurant from underneath where all the fridges and freezers are kept and we’ve had to throw out thousands of pounds worth of stock. We’re still waiting to see if we can repair the fridges.”

“It happened in the early evening so we managed to keep the restaurant open for the customers who made it through to us. We may be counting the cost but we’re keeping it business as usual. I’d like to thank the staff and our customers who have rallied around to support us.”

Hexham MP Guy Opperman had nominated the Valley and it was selected to represent the North East and compete against 12 other restaurants for the title.

Mr Aziz had travelled to Westminster with head chef Mohammed Iqbal Hussein, 39, and the team was presented with a certificate for fourth place by John Bercow, the House of Commons Speaker, after the competition.

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