Leeds restaurant Sheesh Mahal closed since Boxing Day 2015 floods is set to reopen today

A POPULAR  LEEDS restaurant  which suffered devastating damage in the Boxing Day floods of 2015 is finally set to reopen today after more than a year of hard work.

The Sheesh Mahal restaurant on Kirkstall Road was one of the worst-hit businesses as the floods struck on Boxing Day 2015.

Water filled the eight foot high cellar kitchens and spilled in to the restaurant, wrecking everything from the floorboards up.

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The first customers are set to be welcomed back to the restaurant at 5pm today (Weds March 1) after 14 months of hard work and more than £200,000 invested in getting the restaurant back up and running.

Sheesh Mahal owner Azram Chaudhry, said: "I had nothing left. The plaster came off the walls. Everything had to go, inluding the floorboards."

Mr Chaudhry said it cost more than £200,000 excluding loss of earnings to get to the stage where he is ready to open the restaurant again.

He added: "Now we are ready. I have been here more than 27 years and the people that come here are really my family rather than customers. They can't wait and I can't wait to embrace one another again.

"I had a group people here on Boxing Day 2015. I served them drinks and starters before I had to ask them to leave due to the flooding. I didn't charge them. All eight of them are coming back on Saturday."

Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves raised the issue of problems still faced by Leeds businesses with Chancellor Philip Hammond MP yesterday.

She said: "I am thrilled. The restaurant is a local institution and I congratulate Azram and the team, as well as community volunteers for all their efforts in getting the doors open again.

"As discussed with the Chancellor in the House of Commons this week, it is important that funding for flood defences and the rising cost of insurance remain a priority.

"I will continue to work with the local community and businesses to support them in recovering from the floods and for future success.”