A CITY centre restaurant which has experienced “unprecedented demand” is undergoing a major refurbishment over the next month so it can serve an extra 38 diners.

The owners of North Hill Noodle Bar filed planning applications with Colchester Council more than a year ago as part of an expansion, and the building work is now underway ahead of the restaurant’s re-opening next month at the latest.

The plans involve merging the first floor of the two adjoining properties on 1 North Hill and 2 North Hill – but the process has been complicated slightly by the fact that the latter is a Grade II listed building.

Co-owners Ting Tsang and Christopher Andrews bought 1 North Hill in March last year before filing plans three months later so they could renovate the first floor on both properties and merge the two spaces together.

Gazette: Project - North Hill Noodle Bar is currently undergoing an expansionProject - North Hill Noodle Bar is currently undergoing an expansion (Image: North Hill Noodle Bar)

But whilst the alterations needed to the first floor on 2 North Hill were described as ‘minimal’, the changes needed to the newly bought 1 North Hill have been more substantial.

Planning papers said work taking place on 1 North Hill has been “more comprehensive, owing to the current dilapidated condition of the building and the space requirements of the expansion.”

Works are also taking place to improve the appearance of the newly-bought 1 North Hill with the brick work set to be cleaned and repointed, with windows refurbished and roof lights replaced.

Documents added that Mr Tsang and Mr Andrews had been exploring the possibility of expanding the restaurant due to “unprecedented demand and being fully booked every weekend and frequently so throughout the week.”

North Hill Noodle Bar expects to employ an extra ten members of staff once the restaurant reopens in one month’s time, though takeaways are still available.

Gazette: North Hill Noodle Bar

Mr Andrews said: “We have been in Colchester for a long time and we are lucky to have a big and far reaching customer base.

“The Noodle Bar is in quite a small and narrow building and we only have capacity for about 65 customers so we fill up very quickly.

“The primary goal was for additional table space and a little bit more comfort to provide an area where people can express dine if they want.

“We have made sure to keep a lot the original features and the builder designer has knitted the two buildings together really well.

“It has been a long time coming and we have been working on 1 North Hill since last year and we are just waiting to do the knock throughs over the next two weeks.”