A RESTAURANT which underwent a major relaunch 12 months ago has marked its first anniversary.

But the family behind Cilantro, in Hexham’s Market Place, has acknowledged that due to the coronavirus outbreak, it has not been a time for celebration.

In May 2019, the premises previously occupied by the Valley Indian Restaurant was transformed into Cilantro, a tapas restaurant which combines Indian and Latin American cuisine.

It came after Daraz Aziz, the owner of the Valley, decided to focus his efforts on his sister restaurant at Corbridge. It enabled his son, Nabs Aziz, to begin a new chapter for the Hexham premises, which has been well received by customers from near and far.

“It has been an honour serving the local community for the past year,” said Nabs. “We wanted to bring something innovative and unique to Hexham which we feel we have achieved.

“We blended two cuisines and cultures of vibrance and flavour, and delivered this with great panache.”

The stylish dishes have brought an exciting new twist to the traditional Indian dishes served previously at the Valley.

“Many people in the area were not particularly familiar with tapas,” said Nabs. “We are pleased that we were able to introduce this, and have the ability to try different dishes and flavours.”

Despite the success of the new restaurant so far, Nabs admitted that closing the doors in line with Covid-19 lockdown regulations was tough.

He explained: “We were not able to celebrate the anniversary the way in which we would have liked. The closure was of particular concern to us.”

However, both Cilantro and the Valley at Corbridge have successfully adapted and are now offering takeaway services for their loyal customers. Cilantro has provided free food to NHS workers, and Nabs has encouraged people to support local firms now more shops have been allowed to reopen.