Paradise Hampstead: Indian restaurant's customers raise thousands for charity at venue's 50th birthday
PUBLISHED: 15:25 04 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:25 04 September 2019
Charitable friends of the Paradise restaurant in South End Road helped raise thousands for charity on Tuesday night, as it celebrated its 50th birthday.
Wasel Ali, whose father Shahid started the Indian eatery five decades ago, auctioned off table names and dishes to raise money for the Royal Free Charity, Myloma and mental health charity SANE.
Speaking to this newspaper outside the packed birthday celebrations, he said: "I'm really honoured and proud that we're still here after 50 years. We're a real community and neighbourhood restaurant. We have seen people grow up, three generations of people. It's such a warm feeling.
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""I was born and bred in Hampstead, I was always encouraged to come into the restaurant and pop in. Learn how to deal with people, and I've learnt a lot. Our food is fantastic but we try and curate a happy place. It's so rewarding when people leave and they're satisfied."
Royal Free chief executive Caroline Clarke was among the guests and the charities chosen are close to Wasel's heart.
"I didn't want any gifts, I was happy for people to come along. The Royal Free are super dear to us. They do an amazing job. Myloma, a friend of mine had them and I got to know the chair. It is one of those cancers where nobody knows what it is. SANE we're supporting because of one of our guests at the restaurant and I'm more than happy to help them."
Looking to the future the 47-year-old said he hasn't got any plans to open up any other restaurants, but may look to offer a delivery service in the future.