Saracens players visit The Beech House restaurant in St Albans
- Credit: Adam Hollier
Boarding has been taken away from an eatery which was forced to close down in St Albans city centre earlier this year, to reveal a modern new restaurant in its place.
Seven months ago popular Indian restaurant Veer Dhara shut its doors to diners in St Peter’s Street after being served with a notice of repossession.
Those premises have now been transformed, courtesy of a mammoth £900,000 revamp, into The Beech House, which officially opened last night.
And restaurant staff have already hit the ground running, welcoming representatives of Herts Air Ambulance last Saturday and winning praise from Saracens rugby players on Sunday for “feeding our forwards”.
A spokeswoman for The Beech House announced the local restaurant’s partnership with the air ambulance – 25p from every pulled pork dish sold is going towards the charity.
General manager Jack Ashmore said: “It is such a great cause and I look forward to raising the funds needed to keep the helicopters flying and saving lives.”
Among the diners having a preview of the new eatery on Saturday night were David and Becki Vukovich, who experienced first-hand the importance of the air ambulance team’s work when their 10-year-old son Luca was hit by a van on Berkhamsted’s High Street last year.
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The boy was taken by helicopter for emergency specialist treatment after suffering a head injury and breaks to both legs.
David, who hails from St Albans, paid tribute to the air ambulance, which has no direct funding from the Government or National Lottery.
Suzanne Harvey and Sheena Ellwood, who volunteer as fundraisers for the service, said they enjoyed helping such a worthy cause.
Sheena, of London Colney, explained: “I’m a lifelong horse rider, and I have seen a lot of accidents. I was amazed that it was a charity as it’s such a vital service.”
The Beech House in St Albans has boosted the Herts-based Oakman Inns and Restaurants group portfolio, by becoming its ninth venture.
It offers all-day dining, from breakfast to dinner, coffees, wines, pastries and tapas.
Veer Dhara is reopening in the premises below the Liberal Club in Hatfield Road, formerly the site of Kashu and Aqua Restaurants.