Status Quo frontman Francis Rossi is supporting an inaugural food festival designed at establishing South End as Croydon’s Restaurant Quarter.

Rossi, who lives in Purley, is a regular eater in South End, and believes the festival, launched in partnership with The Croydon Guardian’s dedicated food website, will showcase the area’s world class cuisine.

He said: “There are some fantastic eateries in the South End of Croydon. One of my favourite places in the world is the Japanese restaurant Osushi. I find it really weird that it is run by a Vietnamese woman called Emma.

“I probably end up going to Osushi two or three times a week and I also go to Bagatti’s once or twice a week when I can. Bagatti’s is a very good restaurant – it has a great reputation. Peter has been there for 20 to 25 years and can turn out some serious food.”

The festival has been set up as part of Croydon’s Recovery Project, after the town was devastated during the August riots.

Rossi has already shown his commitment to helping the town’s recovery, making a guest appearance at the re-opening of riot-hit Rockbottom music shop on London Road on March 30.

He is also a close friend of South End Food Festival’s headline act, Lenny Zakatek, who will take to the main stage on April 15 just before 4pm, and is devastated work commitments will prevent a collaboration.

He said: “I would have genuinely loved to have wandered around there sampling the Italian food.

“Coming to Croydon wasn’t considered the way it is now,” he added. “I do love it around here and I do think the bad reputation is unfair. I have been here so long I just love it and I don’t wish to be anywhere else – otherwise I would be.”

The Croydon Recovery Campaign is being delivered on Croydon Council’s behalf by Croydon Business Improvement District (BID), the company which represents, and is funded by, town centre businesses.

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