Finally! Castle Mall reveals when three new restaurants will open
- Credit: Ella Wilkinson
The long-awaited restaurant quarter at Norwich's Castle Mall will finally come to fruition this autumn, says the centre's boss.
The development of the centre between Timberhill and Farmers Avenue was first mooted in 2016 with an anticipated opening date of spring 2017 – but since then progress has stalled.
Just one of the four restaurants announced for Timberhill Terrace, as the development has been named, has actually moved in, as questions mounted over the viability of the development amid torrid times for the casual dining sector.
But with work starting last week on fitting out the second unit for wine cafe Veeno, Castle Mall centre manager Robert Bradley said he felt it was the action needed to 'kick-start' the delayed project.
'All these things have been negotiated for a while. The hardest thing has been persuading people that it's actually going to happen,' said Mr Bradley.
'We've always known that it was going to happen but it's only now becoming visible to people.'
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Veeno will open its doors to the public in September, with steak-and-lobster restaurant Bourgee and British-inspired Babel expected to finally move in and begin service before November. They will join Mexican restaurant Cocina, which has been the only restaurant open in the revamped section for the past year.
'We are expecting them by the autumn,' said Mr Bradley. 'Babel is just ironing out the last points of its design. They've been paying rent for some time, which is why we've had their name all over the signage.'
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Mr Bradley said the promise of the restaurant quarter had been enough to lure him back to Norwich from Liverpool, where he had been managing the city's St John's shopping centre. He returned 18 months ago to Castle Mall, where he had served as operations manager between 2003 and 2012.
Level 4 at Castle Mall was previously home to the Timber Hill health centre and walk-in clinic, which had to find new premises in Rouen Road after Castle Mall owners InfraRed submitted plans for the restaurant development.
Mr Bradley said the restaurant development was an attempt to diversify Castle Mall, and encourage new people to visit the centre.
'Consumers are demanding more and more. They won't settle for what we've had for years and years,' he said.
'Some of the names we have lined up for the restaurant quarter don't necessarily correlate with the retail offer we have. The typical Bourgee customers, for example, might not be our typical retail customer.
'We know from market research that we have a loyal customer base but we have to grow it further. To do that, we have to offer something new.'