Popular Thai restaurant reopens after flood

Organiser Ingrid Pope [pictured] launched Tunbridge Wells Yard Sale last year after seeing a similar event in the US.

KAI’S KITCHEN reopened yesterday [Tuesday] after being shut for 10 months because of fall-out from last summer’s flash floods.

The popular Thai restaurant at the bottom of Mount Pleasant, opposite the railway station, had to close in July after torrential rain led to flooding.

The basement kitchen and bathrooms were left under five feet of water.

It is the second time the establishment has been hit. The floods of August 2015 also led to its closure for three months.

This time problems with insurance left owners, Varanya ‘Kai’ King and her daughter Dana Free, despairing about the future of their enterprise.

The contents insurance claim for replacement of equipment and decorations paid out promptly.

But the work under the buildings insurance has been subject to protracted negotiation.

And in the meantime, Mrs King has been told when they renewed their insurance that they would no longer be covered for flooding.

‘We are not insured for flood damage at all,’ said Mrs King’s husband John.

‘We hope they will reinstate us when they see what work we’ve done – but at what cost, we don’t know.’

He is concerned there will be more local flooding and blames the condition of the creaking drainage system in place on Mount Pleasant.

He claims the pipes are unable to cope with the flow of surface water on Mt Pleasant and that Kent County Council have not carried out necessary maintenance.

Mr King said: ‘The old Victorian system is too narrow to take the volume of water coming down the hill. KCC have admitted that they do not maintain the drains on a regular basis.’

There has been considerable loss of earnings but it is the impact on their loyal custom base which has been of greatest concern to Mrs King.

She said: ‘It’s the good faith that I worry about, the customer relationship that we have built up. Some people said we had closed permanently.

‘When they did finally get to work, they said it would take four to five weeks so we announced that we would open at the end of March.

‘It took a month longer, so we have had to let our customers down a second time.

‘But if the people that stop me in the street are anything to go by, they will be back.’

PICTURE: GOOD FAITH: Kai King (left) and her daughter Dana PHOTO: Craig Matthews

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