Mexican restaurant moves into famous Norwich building
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017
Norwich is preparing to welcome a second Cocina Mexican and Margaritas restaurant, which is due to open in the famous Samson and Hercules building.
As part of the refurbishments, the iconic statues that stand at the porch of the building have been repainted white.
The oak pillars were first installed to hold up the porch 360 years ago. In the intervening period, the statues were removed and left in the rear courtyard for more than a century.
Samson lost an arm and Ikon nightclub ultimately replaced them with fibre glass replicas in 1999.
The club closed in 2003 and Samson and Hercules stood guard to an empty building for more than a decade, although they were brightly redecorated for an art exhibition in 2012.
The original carved oak Samson statue was removed from Norfolk Collections Centre in 2014 and sent to London to undergo conservation work.
Meanwhile, the replicas underwent a striking makeover in the same year when the building was reopened as a lobster restaurant and the statues were painted bright red - an unpopular choice with many who felt the new look was not in keeping with the buildings surroundings.
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Erica Greene, area manager of Cocina, said: 'We know there was a massive hoo-ha when the statues were painted red previously and we thought we should restore it to its original colour. It should offer a nicer, more sophisticated view and it's nice to just go back to how it was.'
Cocina opened its first restaurant in Norwich at The Terrace in Castle Mall last week and the new restaurant is due to open in the next fortnight.
Mrs Greene said: 'The locations were too good to turn down. It is an absolutely beautiful location in Tombland and it was a great opportunity here at the Terrace.'
Mrs Greene said the Tombland restaurant will offer a vibrant dining experience.
She said: 'There's going to be a buzzy atmosphere. There will be two separate rooms - a bar area where you can have a chill out, cocktails and shots with your friends, and a sit down meal restaurant area.'
The restaurant will be offering customers pamphlets detailing the eclectic history of the building upon opening.