Things are about to get more lively at an African restaurant in Reading as staff gear up to improve the dining experience at their business.

Avila Gourmet, located in Oxford Road, is known for its range of African and ‘fusion’ meals including peri-peri, stews, grilled meats and rice dishes.

This summer, Avila submitted an application to play recorded music, sell alcohol and more to Reading Borough Council’s licensing department.

The licence was granted this month, and now staff are getting ready to improve the dining experience at the restaurant.

Adeniko Kalejaiye, one of the owners of Avila Gourmet, said: “The reason we applied for the licence was that we wanted to open the place up more to dining customers.

“It was a case of what our customers needs are. They’re looking for a place where they can sit down and enjoy a good meal with friends and family, relax and have a good time.

“We’re really excited and happy the licence has been granted and looking forward to the next steps.”

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Mrs Kalejaiye and her business partners received news the licence was granted on Monday, October 10.

They are now planning to introduce more decorations to add to the dining experience of the restaurant.

Mrs Kalejaiye said: “We want to create a welcoming atmosphere and add more authentic African fittings.

“Right now we’ve not really started that, but we hope to do that before the end of the year.”

Although alcoholic drinks are not being introduced straight away, but they will be introduced in the near future thanks to the successful licensing application.

Mrs Kalejaiye explained: “Because we’re an African restaurant we’re going to have a mix of cool African drinks and other widely available alcoholic drinks as well.”

Avila began as a catering business in 2015, an element of the business which remains in full function, with Avila catering for weddings, parties and other special occasions.

It opened its restaurant at 535 Oxford Road in November 2019, in a unit previously occupied by Peri Peri Original.

The restaurant has a takeaway function, with delivery provided through Just Eat, Uber Eats and Deliveroo.

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In full, Avila has won permission to hold music and dance performances from 6pm to 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays, play recorded music and sell alcohol on site from 4pm to 10pm Monday to Thursday, and from 2pm to 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

While it has received permission to hold music and dance performances, there are no plans to introduce such events in the immediate future.

Mrs Kalejaiye explained: “There will be music playing in the background while people enjoy themselves, but we’re not looking to host live performances at the moment.”

Information about the catering side of the business can be found on the Avila website.