35 diners walk out of Finsbury Park restaurant over caterpillar in a salad

THIRTY-five diners walked out of a restaurant and refused to pay a �500 bill – after their evening was ruined by the sight of a caterpillar crawling in the salad.

Single mother Chantelle Barthelmy, 24, and her family were enjoying a birthday meal on Sunday at popular Italian chain restaurant La Porchetta, in Stroud Green Road, Finsbury Park, for her son Kieran’s 10th.

She said: “My uncle was the last person to be served and there was a caterpillar in his salad. It was disgusting and it stopped everyone from eating what was on the table.

“There was silence. You could hear everyone’s knives and forks drop. I was eating a wrapped up calzone and I thought, what the hell is in mine?”

The sight was too much to stomach for Ms Barthelmy’s grandfather, who ran to the toilet to throw up.

The mother-of-two added: “My uncle spat out his mouthful and told the manager, who just said it was a one off. My uncle turned round and said, I own three restaurants and if you properly wash the food it doesn’t happen.”

The restaurant offered a bottle of champagne in apology, but the family refused.

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Ms Barthelmy, who is a student at City and Islington College, said: “The manager turned round to my uncle and said, be a man and accept the bottle.

“We just all got up and left. The bill would have been about �500. One of my uncles said if you want to call the police go ahead.”

Avni Xira, manager of the Stroud Green La Porchetta, said: “They were shouting and screaming like it was the end of the world.

“I was nervous. They were almost being physical. I just let them go to avoid more trouble. There were 35 people, and even though everything else was fine they didn’t pay.”

He added: “I accepted that it was wrong. The chef had washed the salad but he can’t see every leaf. It’s never happened before in 10 years.”

Ms Barthelmy also complained that the adults were left waiting for over an hour after the children’s food had arrived. “I’m scared to order out now,” she added. “I don’t want to eat out anywhere now.”