A RESTAURANT owner has been branded "Inconsiderate and selfish" after taste-test in breach of regulations.

The owner of the Cattle Steakhouse at Hanover Buildings, Southampton was slapped with a £1,000 yesterday after people were spotted drinking and socialising at the eatery.

The 37-year-old owner claimed the people had been there to taste-test and provide feedback on his new menu.

MP for Southampton Itchen, Royston Smith has now branded the rule breakers “inconsiderate and selfish” and said they are risking the lives of other people.

He added: “The rules are clear. Everyone knows we have to do our bit to prevent transmission.

“It’s not those who infect themselves it’s the ones they then infect.”

The incident happened at around 10.15pm on January 24 and police are now working with Southampton City Council to review the restaurant’s licence.

Ward councillor for Bargate, Cllr Sarah Bogle, said: “I know that the police are taking this all very seriously. Ijust hope people understand that these rules apply to everybody.

“It’s been going on a long time and people are understandably weary, but the law’s the law.”

A spokesperson for the restaurant said: "This wasn’t a planned event, but when our regular customers came in to order we offered them the new menu items we were making for free for their feedback.  

"At the time we were doing photo shoots of the items and the customers were asked to sit and wait before food was given out. 

"During the time police were onsite we cooperated with them fully, and were made aware of the seriousness of letting customers in past the collection section. 

"We have worked closely with licensing and police throughout the lock down with all of the new changes we had to adopt from buying screens, putting up signs, track and trace and providing hand sanitizers. 

"At this point it was an oversight on our behalf that we have taken full responsibility and regret what occurred. However we have been trading as a takeaway only service since January and had followed all guidelines besides this incident."