Delight as satisfied diner leaves £1,000 tip

Hot Tip...The Indian Tree Restaurant staff pictured with the receipt for a tip of �1,000 from a generous customer. Included are from left, Luna Ekush, director, Babu, chef, Martinho Silva, tandoori chef, and Maria Bulcau, kitchen assistant. INPT02-206.

Hot Tip...The Indian Tree Restaurant staff pictured with the receipt for a tip of �1,000 from a generous customer. Included are from left, Luna Ekush, director, Babu, chef, Martinho Silva, tandoori chef, and Maria Bulcau, kitchen assistant. INPT02-206.

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Staff of an Indian restaurant in Portadown are still in shock after receiving what has to be one of the most generous tips ever - £1,000!

The Indian Tree in Carleton Street was given the surprise bonus by a happy diner and fan of the restaurant’s chef Babu.

The businessman, who wishes to remain anonymous, was one of a family group of five who spent £79.05 on their meal in the Portadown restaurant.

But when the time came to settle up, the man said he wanted to add the £1,000 gift on to the bill in recognition of the excellent cooking and service.

Luna Ekush, who bought over The Indian Tree 16 months ago, said the man is originally from Portadown but lives abroad for business reasons.

She said, “Whenever he comes home every few months and lands at the airport, he phones to see if Babu is cooking and comes here for his first meal with his wife.

“The night he left the tip, he told Babu that words weren’t enough to express his appreciation of the food and so he wanted to leave the money as a gift.”

Later, the businessman emailed his thanks for the “great food”, asked them to accept the gift to “help with your restaurant” and said he hoped to see them again soon.

Luna, who worked in the restaurant trade in England before moving to Northern Ireland, said it was the biggest tip she had every received but added that all credit must go to Babu.

She said, “He is the selling point for the restaurant. It is a big boost for him, and the rest of us.” As well as Luna and Babu, the restaurant has four kitchen and serving staff.

Babu has a long-standing association with The Indian Tree and Luna said that since he left in 2009 the restaurant had changed hands many times.

Most recently, Babu had run Babu’s Indian Spice in Gilford.

“He has returned now to The Indian Tree, and the loyal customers are delighted,” said Luna. “I want to thank Babu for his tremendous hard work.”

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