£6m court fight over ‘Britain’s top takeaway’
A CHEF and his mother are locked in a £6million court battle over a restaurant once voted the country’s finest takeaway.
Thai Metro is the focus of a row between Ekkachi Somboonsam and Vanida Walker, 76.
Mr Somboonsam, 50, says he set up the diner in Charlotte Street, Central London, in 2000 after working as a kitchen porter.
The success of the venue helped the family open a second and to build a property portfolio.
But former cleaner Mrs Walker claims the properties belonged to her and Mr Somboonsam was just an “employee”, not the boss.
She moved from Thailand in 1973, Judge Malcolm DavisWhite was told at the High Court.
Mr Somboonsam claims the firm was always his and his mum “occasionally helped out”.
Timothy Cowen, Mrs Walker’s barrister, said “[her] case is that she invested the money and took the lease in her own name because this was her business”.
Mr Cowen added: “Mr Food feud...Thai Metro, Mrs Walker and son Ekkachi Somboonsam was employed in the business with front of house duties and to assist with paperwork.”
But Robert Strang, barrister for her son, insisted his client was “the founder and the owner”.
Shares were in his mum’s name to stop his estranged wife making a claim, Mr Strang said. He added: “This was consistent with their common understanding that he was the owner of Thai Metro.”
The pair are also arguing about a £1million flat, the Thai Metro building and two other London premises, worth £6million in all.
Mrs Walker says they are hers as she paid, but they went in her son’s name as he told her she was “too old” to get a mortgage.
Thai Metro was named the UK’s best in a contest run by food delivery firm Hungryhouse in 2017. The judge will give his ruling on the case at a later date.