A RESTAURANT in Gunwharf Quays is set to reopen, almost three months to the day after fire ripped through its ventilation systems.
The Water Margin oriental buffet caught fire after one of its employees left a wok on the heat for too long, as reported in The News at the time.
The restaurant itself was hardly damaged, but the extraction system was destroyed, as was the roof and much of the kitchen.
The restaurant’s chief executive, Chin Lam, said the repairs cost around £200,000, which have so far not been covered by insurance.
Mr Lam said: ‘It was just one of those things. Unfortunately we didn’t plan for anything like this to happen, so it’s been very, very hard to find the money, compounded with the fact that we lost all those months of trading.’
Firefighters had to tackle the blaze from the roof down, and said the restaurant’s sprinkler system could well have saved it from more damage.
Three fire crews from Southsea, one from Cosham and one from Wickham were called to deal with the incident after several people alerted the emergency services to smoke billowing out of the building.
Customers and staff from nearby businesses were evacuated at the time over fears the fire could spread through the shared roof.
That was on May 22. Now tomorrow, on August 25, the restaurant will reopen.
Mr Lam said: ‘We hope to open by lunchtime, but we might not be ready until about 5pm.
‘There are a huge number of customers loyal to us, and we’re looking forward to getting that support back.
‘We hope we’ll give them an equal, or more than equal, service now.’