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Whitstable's Crab and Winkle restaurant owner hits back after mother and daughter refused access to toilet when booking

A fuming mother and daughter have blasted a Whitstable restaurant for “letting them down” twice in one weekend.

Sara White says when she asked to use the Crab and Winkle’s toilet while booking a table for the following day, staff refused to let her use their premises as they are for “customers only”.

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Crab and Winkle Restaurant
Crab and Winkle Restaurant

To make things worse, when Ms White and her 83-year-old mother, Sheila Bliss, arrived for their meal the next day the eatery was shut - despite the pair only being 10 minutes late.

But one of the owners of the restaurant, Elizabeth Bennett, rebutted the claims and said she will not tell guests when it closes early as she is “not their nanny”.

Ms White, 51, said: “I asked to use their toilet and I was told by receptionist, ‘No, my manager will kill me - you can’t. You will have to use the public ones in the harbour’.

“Surely if you are going to be dining there and have been dining there for years, you can use the toilet.

“We were told they don’t allow people to use the toilet otherwise they would have everyone in off the streets.”

"I am not going to increase my phone bill trying to call them - this is not kindergarten..." restaurant owner Elizabeth Bennett

The restaurant states on its website it is open until 4.30pm on a Sunday and the pair had booked the table for 3.30pm.

Ms White added: “Sadly my mum got delayed in traffic because of the weather and we arrived 10 minutes late to the restaurant only to find the restaurant had closed up.”

Ms White phoned the restaurant and was told by one of the employees it had closed early.

“We explained we had a table booked and the restaurant was clearly open to 4.30pm,” she said.

“It looked like the weather was bleak on Sunday and there were no customers so they decided to close up early.

Sheila Bliss and Sara White. Picture: Sara White
Sheila Bliss and Sara White. Picture: Sara White

“Admitted we did not call to say we would be 10 minutes late. However, they did not call us to advise the restaurant would be closing.

“They have our telephone numbers on file and made no contact.

“Sadly, we were stranded in Whitstable with no lunch as most of the other restaurants as they only take bookings from 12pm to 3pm. I will definitely never return there again.”

Mrs Bennett says she knows nothing about the incident and it is “common knowledge” the public cannot use the restaurant toilets.

Read more: Is the Crab & Winkle Kent's most divisive restaurant?

She said: “I am not a public convenience - we are a restaurant. I suggest they take it up with Canterbury City Council who have failed to put signs up to tell the public there is a toilet at the end of the harbour.”

Responding to the other complaint made about the restaurant closing early, Mrs Bennett said: “I am not their nanny.

“If I haven’t got any bookings, I close the business. I am not a supermarket.

"If they haven’t got the decency to ring me, I am not going to increase my phone bill trying to phone them - this is not kindergarten.”

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