A coffee shop with a Swedish focus on friendship and taking time out for a hot drink is due to open in the city centre tomorrow.

Eastern Daily Press: Mark Lawrence, who will be opening Fika in Norwich. Photo: Lauren CopeMark Lawrence, who will be opening Fika in Norwich. Photo: Lauren Cope (Image: Archant)

Fika, on Wensum Street, will open in the former home of Artel and The Window Coffee Shop.

It will be run by Norwich-born and bred Mark Lawrence, 44, who embarked on the venture after a major change in direction.

'Like a lot of people I did a job for a long time which didn't offer me anything other than a pay cheque,' he said. 'Twenty-three years doing something because I knew I had to do something.

'But various circumstances in my life came together and I left my job, took some time to spend with my family and it completely changed my outlook on life, and I started to think that I could do more.'

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But to make sure the dream could become a reality, he first studied at the London School of Coffee, and worked closely with successful coffee shops in Norwich, including the teams at Kofra, Ancestors and Artel.

'I love coffee, I love coffee shops and the social aspect they give people,' he said, 'but I needed to know whether I would actually enjoy doing it.

'After that, it became a case of what is the next step? The plan wasn't always to open up somewhere, but this became available and it was the right place at the right time.'

Mr Lawrence was a regular at the shop when it was both Artel and the Window.

'This space works fantastically for coffee,' he said, 'and I think there is still a desire from people to have a coffee shop in this space.'

But he said he wanted to do something different, and create something which was 'individual and unique'.

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In doing so, he hopes to take away some of the barriers that put people off visiting cafés, including long, unwieldy menus and a sense of intimidation over ordering.

Instead, his concise menu will be made up of pastries from Maggie's Pastry and six drink choices - three white, three black - and he wants the focus to be on warmth, and a Swedish way of life.

'I really just want people to feel welcome,' he said.

'I have got close friends who are Swedish and that's where I first came across Fika - it doesn't have a direct translation but it has a general meaning of taking time out of the day to have a hot drink and socialise with friends.'

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