"I have never been insulted like this."
A high-end restaurant is facing criticism on social media for allegedly refusing to allow a woman entry because she was wearing a saree.
However, the Delhi-based restaurant has said the incident was misrepresented and it believed in “honouring our Indian community and have always welcomed our guests in all dress codes from modern to traditional”.
Anita Choudaary took to social media and said that she was not allowed to enter the Aquila restaurant at Ansal Plaza on September 19, 2021, because she was wearing a saree.
She wrote: “In one of the restaurants in Delhi, saree is not considered to be a smart outfit.
“The restaurant’s name is Aquila.
“We argued over saree, and a lot of excuses were made, but I was not allowed to enter the restaurant, because the Indian attire – saree is not a smart outfit.
“I have never been insulted like this. I also feel hurt.”
Saree is not allowed in Aquila restaurant as Indian Saree is now not an smart outfit.What is the concrete definition of Smart outfit plz tell me @AmitShah @HardeepSPuri @CPDelhi @NCWIndia
Please define smart outfit so I will stop wearing saree @PMishra_Journo #lovesaree pic.twitter.com/c9nsXNJOAO
— anita choudhary (@anitachoudhary) September 20, 2021
Ms Choudaary also shared a video of the exchange between her and the restaurant staff, along with several pictures of herself in her saree.
Her post went viral and it led to the restaurant receiving criticism.
One person said: “Who decides saree is not ‘smart wear’?
“I have worn sarees at the best restaurants in the US, UAE as well in UK.
“No one stopped me. And some Aquila Restaurant dictates a dress code in India and decides saree is not ‘smart enough’? Bizarre.”
Another wrote: “Even Covid hasn’t bought some restaurants down to earth. Still that haughty patronising attitude.”
The restaurant responded to the allegations and said their side of the story.
In a statement, the restaurant said the “10-second” clip posted by Ms Choudaary was part of a “one-hour” conversation.
The statement read:
“We chose to stay silent till now and have been patiently watching the situation related to the incident that took place at Aquila on September 19 unfold.
“A guest visited the restaurant and was politely requested to wait at the gate as there was no reservation under her name.
“However, while we discussed internally as to where we could seat them, the guest entered the restaurant and began to fight and abuse our staff.
“What unfolded after was beyond our imagination, with the guest slapping our manager.”
CCTV footage showed a woman entering the restaurant whilst wearing a saree and slapping a staff member.
Another video showed other diners entering with sarees with no issue.
The restaurant did apologise for the comment on sarees not being “smart casual”.
“To tackle the situation and request the guest to leave, one of our gate managers made a statement on sarees not being a part of our smart casual dress code and our whole team apologises for the same.
“Aquila is a homegrown brand and each member of the team stands tall as a proud Indian.
“Our gate manager’s statement in no way is a representation of the entire team’s view on the dress code.
“Nowhere in our company policy does it say that we will refuse entry to anybody in ethnic wear.
“While we have all the right to take steps for the violence by the guest against our staff, we have chosen to maintain peace so far but in accordance with our policy of maintaining transparency with our stakeholders we are now issuing this statement.”