CELEBRATING his 65th birthday with pub grub was not what Richard Newman had in mind when he organised a party to celebrate reaching the milestone.
He booked a table for 12 at Indian restaurant Cafe Tusk, in West Street, Fareham, but was shocked to find the place closed when he arrived with no note as to why.
Mr Newman, from Longmynd Drive, Fareham, said he was disgusted to find the restaurant’s opening hours had been changed, and said nobody had tried to contact him to tell him, despite him booking weeks in advance.
He said: ‘I’d been using that place since it opened. We used to go there at least once a month and for all the time it has been there it has been open in the day, but this time they were shut.
‘I went back to complain the next day, but they were again shut. We were just disgusted. It ruined my birthday celebration and all it would’ve taken was a phone call to let us know.’
Instead of tucking into a delicious Indian buffet, they ate in the nearby Slug and Lettuce pub, which Mr Newman said was good and the staff were accommodating, but it was not what he had in mind for his treat.
Because the weather was bad, the party went straight to the pub, meaning others who had turned up could not find the group’s new location and went home instead.
Mr Newman, a malpractice investigator for the security industry, said: ‘Nobody told us and they gave us no notice. There were people who missed the party altogether.
‘I managed to text some of them and a few of them found us, but the whole experience was terrible.’
A spokesman for the restaurant said the manager had tried to call the party on a mobile number at least eight times, but had not received an answer.
They said that due to a drop in trade in the daytime, the restaurant’s opening hours changed in February and it now just opens in the evening.
He said: ‘When the opening hours changed we rang round. The manager tried this party eight times and there was no answer and he even rang the night before.
‘We needed to confirm the booking as if we knew that 12 people were still coming we would have opened especially.
‘I am sorry for the disappointment but we did try.’
Mr Newman said: ‘My colleague who made the booking has an answerphone but there was no message left and his answerphone was switched on and working.
‘I doubt I will ever go back to Cafe Tusk again.’