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‘The chokehold gets a little tighter’: New owner of Last Brasserie on 10pm curfew

PUBLISHED: 13:03 23 September 2020 | UPDATED: 15:28 23 September 2020

Iain McCarten and partner Bonnie at the Last Brasserie in Norwich. Pic: Andy Newman Associates

Iain McCarten and partner Bonnie at the Last Brasserie in Norwich. Pic: Andy Newman Associates

Archant

The boss of Norwich’s Last Brasserie hit out at the new restrictions despite being allowed to have outdoor seating.

The Last has been granted a renewal of its pavement licence, meaning it can have tables and chairs outside. Pic: ArchantThe Last has been granted a renewal of its pavement licence, meaning it can have tables and chairs outside. Pic: Archant

Iain McCarten, who runs the restaurant in St George’s Street, posted on social media his frustration at the new government rules imposed after he’s just reopened.

He said: “So, we’ve already got reduced numbers eating out. Also got a reduced number of tables in the restaurant. And now, smaller opening hours...the chokehold gets a little tighter.”

But he also had some good news after Norwich City Council granted him a renewal of his licence for outdoor seating.

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Mr McCarten had to reapply for the temporary pavement licence to allow him four-five two seater tables outside in St George’s which was granted.

“Finally some good news,” he said. “Better late than never, we’ve got our outside seating back, it has been re-approved, we can now rejoin everyone else on our street that has pavement seating.”

It came after the restaurant, which only recently reopened after five months of closure because of Covid and the transfer of ownership, had to rejuggle its bookings to comply with the new government ruling of closure at 10pm.

Mr McCarten said: “We’re in a bit of a pickle with this and next weekend’s bookings, so if you’ve got a table with us for this Saturday night you should have received a call or voicemail. “It’s difficult, it means we have to start the evening service a bit earlier...we had lots of bookings 8.30-9.30 which is not going to be an option now and the tables we do have are all now cramped into a tighter time period which could cause the kitchen to bottleneck.

“So far we’ve had amazing support from the lovely people of Norwich and incredible feedback. But the last few weeks we’ve just been getting back into our rhythm now it’s time to push forward.”

Mr McCarten officially took over the reins of the restaurant from the four investors who stepped in to save it from permanent closure last year.

Mr McCarten, 34, who became head chef in January 2017, takes over the restaurant from investors and business bosses Lynda Baxter, Mark Duffy, Mark Loveday and Vince Pearson, who bought the business in March 2019 vowing to turn it round and secure its future.

Their purchase came after the former owner retired and the venue looked in danger of closing for good.

Mr McCarten, who always dreamed of owning his own restaurant, made a name for himself last year with his innovative, and now locally famous, crab doughnut but he recently devised an equally inspired dish when he put Kentucky Fried octopus on the menu.


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