Norwich cousins set to reopen Merchants of Colegate as new Indian restaurant

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.

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.

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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.'

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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

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