CHILLI Banana customers have expressed their shock and disappointment at the closure of the Thai restaurant in the centre of Knutsford.

The King Street restaurant announced its closure on Wednesday after two years in the town, and thanked everyone for their loyal custom.

The restaurant said on its Facebook page: “We regret to announce that Chilli Banana Knutsford has now closed its doors permanently.

“We'd like to thank everyone for your loyal custom over the past two years.

“You can still satisfy your Chilli Banana cravings at our other branches in Wilmslow, Didsbury, Bramhall, Macclesfield and Liverpool. We hope to see you again at your local Chilli Banana soon.”

The closure sparked numerous comments on the Facebook page, many expressing sadness at the news.

One member of the public said: “Very sad to hear. The food was always good and the staff very pleasant,” while another commented: “Gutted. This was our favourite place to eat. So sorry to see you go.”

A fellow fan of the restaurant said: “Knutsford was the best one. Hope your staff/chefs get jobs at one of the other Chilli Bananas, they were great.”

Speaking in July 2017 ahead of the opening, Knutsford Chilli Banana owner Adrian Lea said: “After 20 years of success the decision was made that, as a brand, we are in the very exciting position where we want to expand the brand.

“We invested into a site in Didsbury which has been successfully trading for the past nine months, and the next obvious location is the fantastic island of restaurants by the name of Knutsford.

“We believe the brand has a fantastic reputation in Knutsford due to being in Wilmslow for so many years – we have been actively trying to engage for 12 months, but as everyone knows opportunities there are few and far between.

“When the trader in Man Zen decided to hang up his boots, it gave Chilli Banana the opportunity to locate on that bottom street.”

Adrian said the brand intended to commit almost £500,000 to the new 90-seater site.

“All the directors of Chilli Banana are very excited and we hope the Knutsford move will springboard the brand into more growth,” said Adrian at the time.

“The diners of Knutsford are educated foodies. They are already familiar with Chilli Banana and many will have dined in Wilmslow over the past 20 years. We are bringing it to them rather than them having to come to us.”