Bristol restaurant to reopen after owner ‘went to hell and back’

A restaurateur who “went to hell and back” is on the verge of reopening his Bristol restaurant after a two-year closure.

Raj Rahman opened the Raj Mahal in Stapleton in 1992 after moving to the city from London, where he opened his first restaurant in 1979.

But after a prosperous 40-year career in the hospitality industry, things started to go wrong for the 64-year-old in 2016 when he hired a building firm to carry out a major renovation of his Frome Valley Road restaurant.

Six months after builders had begun the refurbishment, a building inspector visited the site and found that the work did not meet the necessary building regulations – which resulted in the company going into liquidation.

The Raj Mahal restaurant in Stapleton
(Image: James Beck/BristolLive)

But the worst was still to come for the experienced restaurant operator, as the subsequent builders he hired massively overcharged him for the completion of the job.

All in all the ordeal put Mr Rahman out of pocket by around £250,000 and he had to sell his other properties to pay the fees of the cowboy builders, leaving Raj Mahal as his last remaining site.

“The past few years have been a roller coaster and my pension savings have been completely wiped out,” said Mr Rahman.

“I’ve been to hell and back but I can’t wait to finally get back to what I love doing.

Raj Rahman can’t wait to reopen his restaurant
(Image: James Beck/BristolLive)

“I’m so excited to get my baby back on track when I reopen next Monday (October 12) after what has been a very difficult few years.”

Mr Rahman said the menu will be pretty much the same as it was before the restaurant closed in 2018, but the venue will have a “completely new look”.

A new kitchen has been fitted which will allow the chefs to make “food which is even tastier than before” he said, while there is also a brand new bar and toilet facilities.

“A lot of people in the area have been contacting me asking when we’re reopening,” added Mr Rahman.

“I think I’m as excited as they are about next week’s relaunch. I can’t wait to show off the new look.”

The restaurant has a rating of 4.4 from 95 reviews on Google, with people praising the quality of food and Mr Rahman’s “warm welcome”.

The Raj Mahal is located at Avon, 6-10 Frome Valley Rd, Bristol BS16 1HD. It reopens on Monday, October 12.

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