When Fatima Rajina suspected she had been ‘racially profiled’ when refused a table at a French restaurant in Welwyn Garden City, she decided to investigate further.
Fatima, who is British-Bangladeshi, had been visiting the town for the first time with Nasar Rahman, who is British-Pakistani.
They had gone into a Côte Brasserie branch, where they were allegedly told there it was “reservation only” by the waiter.
A member of staff at the Parisian-themed chain is said to have informed the pair they couldn’t be seated for brunch, despite the fact Fatima could see several empty tables.
However, the PhD student, who comes from Luton, suspected there was more to it.
Unconvinced, Fatima said she and her friend then decided to phone the restaurant using a “white accent” to try and book a table, the Hertfordshire Mercury reports.
They were promptly told a table would be available in 15 minutes.
She explained: “We went to Bill’s first and they said they were chock-a because of Mother’s Day.
“They were very apologetic about it, very polite, and as we don’t know the area well we asked if they could recommend somewhere else and they told us to try Côte .
“We turned up and a woman told us to wait a moment at the door, before a white waiter came up and said ‘sorry we only take reservations’ – no hello, no nothing.”
The reception they got gave Fatima “an instant gut feeling”.