Dev Biswal, the chef-owner of the multi award-winning Ambrette restaurants in Margate and Canterbury, has introduced takeaway menus for the first time in its 10-year history.
The Ambrette has business disruption cover on insurance to cover pandemic outbreaks – but has been told by insurers that Covid-19 is “not a listed infectious disease” covered, which directly contradicts Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s statement.
Mr Biswal is critical of what he sees as an unnecessary media panic and the government’s policy of recommending the public avoid restaurants, whilst not actually instructing them to close – which would trigger business disruption clauses on most company insurance policies.
“The government seem willing to force thousands of small business into bankruptcy to protect the interests of wealthy ‘Names’ [underwriters] at Lloyd’s of London.”
“As someone with elderly parents and young children I am deeply concerned about those at risk from the corona virus – but the media panic and government responses worldwide seem to be an over-reaction.
Mr Biswal believes the economic consequences may cause more casualties than the disease.
“Each death is a tragedy, but according to Public Health England, seasonal ‘flu can kill more than 20,000 people each winter in the UK – is this any worse?”
The Ambrette restaurants have announced a number of special promotional offers in response to the Government recommendation the public avoid visiting restaurants.
Mr Biswal has also postponed his planned launch of Ambrette Tours to take small parties on gastro trips to Indian from the end of the year.
Ambrette is partnering with Deliveroo for customers to have Indian meals delivered to their homes. The menus include starters such as Baby monkfish tail grilled with tandoori spices, Saddle of lamb in a pickling marinade and Crispy Dosa with vegetables and Masala potatoes.
“The Ambrette has never offered takeaways, because my style of cooking and presentation could never survive transportation, so I’ve developed new dishes that travel,” said Mr Biswal. “Having read the industry reports which all predict significant growth in the delivery market, it’s something I’d been given serious thought to for some time.
“The crash in footfall surrounding the media panic around Corvid-19, means I’ve just brought those plans forward.”