A BUDDING restaurateur is hoping to open a “fine dining restaurant” at an abandoned bagel shop in Colchester city centre.

Colchester Council has received a bid to transform the vacant Brick Lane Bagel Co site into a fine dining restaurant, serving hot food “as a dine-in and takeaway service”.

The council has already granted a premises licence, allowing the proposed new restaurant in High Street to serve alcohol between noon and 11pm seven days a week, with a floorplan suggesting there will be seating for 44 diners.

Pradip Aryal, who is hoping to transform the empty shop into a restaurant, is planning to get the site ready to welcome hungry customers before deciding which cuisine to offer.

Gazette: Eatery - the empty bagel shop in Colchester High StreetEatery - the empty bagel shop in Colchester High Street (Image: Newsquest)

Mr Aryal works full-time as an aerospace engineer but is no stranger to the hospitality industry, with his dad owning the popular Yak and Yeti Indian and Nepalese restaurant in Magdalen Street.

“My dad has been in this sector for a really long time so I’ve always been interested in it,” he said.

“It’s exciting for me and I took this on as a bit of a project for myself. I think it’s a good location.”

City centre councillor Steph Nissen, a fan of Brick Lane Bagel Co, was saddened the popular eatery closed its doors at the end of last year but is pleased there is interest in the High Street unit.

Gazette: Bagel fan - city centre councillor Steph NissenBagel fan - city centre councillor Steph Nissen (Image: Newsquest)

“I think it was a great addition to the city centre,” she said. “The prices were decent and what they offered was really lovely and it was great to bring the east end of London to Colchester.

“I’m happy it’s not going to be another empty unit because every unit which is filled will provide employment and provide resources but it also brings more money into the Colchester economy.

“Some residents have a view that there’s already too many food options in Colchester but I’m minded to think that if business owners are coming here and setting up restaurants and cafés, there must be a demand for it.”

Steph Nissen is the Labour candidate for Castle ward in Thursday’s Colchester Council elections. The other candidates are Kemal Cufoglu (Grn), Martin Gillingham (Lib), and Ryan Smith (Con).