THE new owners of a restaurant are looking to banish the problems of the previous management and cook up the right sort of reputation.
Arzoo Oxford last night opened on the site formerly occupied by Jamals in Walton Street, Jericho, which was closed earlier this year when neighbours complained of mice.
The complaints prompted a visit from Oxford City Council ’s environmental health department.
But now the restaurant, which seats 180 diners, has been given a £200,000 refurbishment from back to front with the partnership behind the new operation determined to banish health concerns and build the business backed by their experience of running restaurants elsewhere in the county.
Partner Muhammad Ali said: “It has always been our dream to open a restaurant in Jericho but we could never find the right property.
“It is a very good market here and we really want the local community to come to try our food and see what we are offering.”
Mr Ali, a chef by trade, also owns the Spice Guru restaurant in Watlington, while head chef and partner Arzoo Miah runs the Arzoo restaurant in Bicester. Both have more than 20 years’ experience in the trade.
Last year Mr Miah was the first winner of the UK Indian Chef Competition and has a string of other awards to his name.
Mr Ali added that a total of 18 jobs had been created while more than £10,000 had been spent on developing a new, bespoke menu.
For the past three years he has also been involved in teaching Indian cooking to catering students at Oxford and Cherwell Valley College and he will be looking for students to develop desserts for the new restaurant.
He added: “Indian restaurants are not known for desserts and we are looking to add a couple of new dishes to the menu which the students will then work on delivering in the restaurant, giving them great experience and helping their future careers.”
It is a new start for the restaurant which was shut down for a day in March after complaints about rodents.
Environmental health officers found hand washing basins had been disconnected and ordered the operation to be cleaned, sanitised and pest-proofed before it was allowed to reopen.