Restaurant offers free Christmas dinner for those on their own

An award-winning south Belfast restaurant is appealing to anyone facing spending Christmas alone to join them for a free dinner this December 25.

Wednesday, 27th November 2019, 9:38 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th November 2019, 11:30 am

Bengal Brasserie on the Ormeau Road, which has been open for almost three decades, launched the appeal for people who have no one to spend Christmas with.

It is the third year the Indian restaurant has invited people to eat free of charge on Christmas day.

The heartwarming invitation has caused widespread praise on social media, with many supporters saying the generosity reminded them of the ‘the real meaning of Christmas.’

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Bengal Brasserie owner Luthfur Ahmed said the gesture is about ‘‘giving something back to the community.’’

‘‘We have been part of the community for 30 years and I want to give something back, especially to those people who are on their own at Christmas time, because that is normally a family time. I come from Bangladesh, my family are there, so I know what it is like to be away from family.’’

Mr Ahmed added: ‘‘Christmas is a time of giving and letting people know how much you appreciate their support throughout the year. Everything is closed on Christmas Day and it is the perfect time for us to do this.

“Our restaurant is based near several nursing and care homes and many of the residents often come in for dinner on their own. I make a point of sitting with them if they seem lonely, and they tell me that they are feeling down as they are always on their own and never get to talk to anyone.

“I see so much loneliness. This will give people the opportunity to get out of the house and meet and talk to people who are in a similar situation. The response has been incredible.’’

Bengal Brasserie staff will also offer their free time to serve customers on Christmas Day.

‘‘We have had a lot of support from the community where people have volunteered their time, but because it’s a restaurant and we have to meet certain criteria, it’s difficult to take on volunteers because of health and safety issues, so we tend to keep with the staff who are trained and who know the restaurant and how it works, ‘‘ said Mr Ahmed.

Bengal Brasserie can facilitate 80-90 diners

‘‘If we get a full house that would be brilliant, but we’re looking to at least get 40 people.

‘‘Ideally if people can book before hand so that we know numbers and how many we are catering for that would be great, but even if that’s not possible and people walk in on Christmas Day, we will still welcome them,’’ he added.

The menu has not been finalised for the day, but diners can look forward to a tasty, filling meal.

The restaurant will be open from noon until 8pm and if you will be alone on Christmas Day and wish to join the staff at Bengal Brasserie for dinner, you simply need to contact them to let them know. Call the restaurant on 028 90647516 to book your place.