It started life in the 18th century as a pub, became a refuge for women and children during the Second World War, and has been a pub and a restaurant since then.

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Now, the former Merchants of Colegate is set to reopen as Norwich’s latest curry house.

The historic building has undergone a £80,000 refurbishment and will reopen as fine Indian dining restaurant Merchants of Spice on Tuesday.

Cousins Affsor Ali and Juned Ali plan to offer the experience of a la carte dining with an Indian twist.

The restaurant will offer a selection of signature dishes including a crab curry, spicy mussels and honey mustard duck as well as traditional favourites.

IT graduate Affsor, 28, who lives in Costessey, said: “This place is going to be completely different. We’re targeting an upmarket customer base for people who want to go to a nice curry house with a nice decor.

“It’s going to Michelin star style service with doubled cutlery and good presentation.”

The refurbishment of the building, which dates back to 1760 and was once known as the Black Boys pub, has taken place over the last four months.

It is not the first time a disused building has been turned into an Indian restaurant in Norwich. The former Bottoms Up building on the Boundary, Hellesdon, was transformed into Zin Zeera in October and the old Duke of Norfolk pub in Mousehold Lane reopened as Rishi last February.

Look out in the Evening News for a Tickles voucher for the Merchants of Spice.

Are you breathing new life into a disused building? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email
kate.scotter@archant.co.uk.

8 comments

  • wow soon there will be as many if not more 'curry' houses in Norwich as we used to have churches & pubs!!!!! Watch out Birmingham we are taking over as the curry capital of the UK!!!!!

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    graze69

    Saturday, February 18, 2012

  • Great news. Cant wait! Pubs have been closing for decades. Telly, warm homes, cheap off-sales and computer games and networking have all probably done more to reduce the demand for pubs than the smoking ban. It's a shame but times change. A restaurant at least keeps it in a leisure use.

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    Local Dad

    Sunday, February 19, 2012

  • Shame about the negative comments. This building closed as a pub in 2003 and hasn't operated as a restaurant since 2009. Better it is re-opened as a restaurant than remains empty. There are plenty of good pubs and bars within a very short walking distance of it, anyway. I'm looking forward to a good Ruby Murray!

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    Rich Hartt

    Sunday, February 19, 2012

  • Not another one ! there will soon be more Indian Restaurants than Big Issue Sellers ! and most are Bangladeshi Restaurants so not strictly Indian !

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    Albert Cooper

    Saturday, February 18, 2012

  • another Norwich pub closed, to many Indian resturants, another victim of the smoking ban perphaps

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    blister

    Saturday, February 18, 2012

  • shame another Norwich pub has been lost, a victim of the smoking ban perphaps, shame just one pub could'nt be opened that was run by smokers and staffed by smokers and no non smokers would be forced to go in , at least smokers pay a high price in tax to help the heath service, unlike all the fatties

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    blister

    Saturday, February 18, 2012

  • like the cellar house I guess the smoking ban has helped the closure of this pub, the health fanatics have struck again, no other group seem s so intent on forcing their opinions on others, used to go in this pub when I was a student and it had a good atmosphere

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    blister

    Saturday, February 18, 2012

  • Up market Bangladeshi grub...I hope only local staff are sought after....every little helps with the evergrowing UB40 numbers.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Saturday, February 18, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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