THALI, an Indian restaurant in George Street in Oxford, has closed a year after opening.

It occupied the space left by chain restaurnt Giraffe, which shut in May last year after owners said the outlet was ‘no longer viable’.

Thali, the Bristol based company, decided to venture outside its home city for the first time with a new branch in George Street in July but it has lasted less than a year.

The 90-seater eatery, which served a range of dishes traditionally cooked on roadside grills on the streets of Bombay, now has a sign on the door announcing it has closed.

Bristol Thali Company Ltd has now gone into administration.

Myn Cotterill, financial controller for Jugaard Ltd, said the Oxford branch would remain closed and Jugaard, a new company, would take over and run the five remaining Bristol branches.

She said: “The new company has been started to acquire the viable assets.

“Unfortunately the Oxford branch of Thali could not break even and it was becoming a drain on the company.

“We opened in Oxford at a competitive time when Westgate Centre was about to open - George Street itself is very competitive and it looks like fewer people are eating out.”

Ms Cotterill said Giraffe ‘sub-leased’ the restaurant to Thali after persuading the owners of the Indian food chain that the location would work for them.

Mowgli at the Westgate Centre, which opened earlier this year, also serves Indian food street-style.

Retail expert Keith Slater, a director of the Oxfordshire Town Chambers Network, said Thali took a chance when it opened a new branch so far from Bristol.

He added: “Perhaps Swindon, Bath or Gloucester would have been a better bet to start off with.

“There is tough competition in Oxford for customers and will send out a message to small restaurant chains that they need to crunch the numbers properly before they open a new branch.”

Thali started as a street food truck at Glastonbury Festival after founder Jim Pizer travelled to India and fell in love with the food.

Thali aims to showcase the dishes of the subcontinent from the back streets of Bombay to the beach shacks of Goa.

Last year, before the Westgate Centre opened in October, city councillor Colin Cook, now Lord Mayor, warned that eateries outside the new shopping centre, would have to ‘up their game’ in order to survive.

Thali is not the only restaurant chain to have struggled to attract customers.

Earlier this year Jamie’s Italian announced a Company Voluntary Arrangement as it struggled to cope with millions of pounds of debt.

Its George Street branch, the first in the chain to open, was unaffected.