21-year-old Nazia Sheikh ready to run her own Indian restaurant in Norwich

Nazia Sheikh is the 21-year-old manager at The Mint Room. Photo: Bill Smith Nazia Sheikh is the 21-year-old manager at The Mint Room. Photo: Bill Smith

Monday, April 28, 2014
9:00 AM

At 21, it used to be a tradition to get the key to the door.

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But one Norwich woman has taken that to a new level - by getting the keys to the door of a 200-seat capacity restaurant.

While many people of her age are at university or getting their toe on the bottom rung of life’s ladder, Nazia Sheikh is running The Mint Room - an Indian restaurant on Queens Road, Norwich.

Despite it being one of the largest Indian restaurants in Norwich, Miss Sheikh is confident she has the maturity to make a go of it.

Born and bred in Norwich, she’s been dreaming of running and owning her own business since she started working part-time aged just 14.

So when the opportunity came up to take on the former Oasis restaurant, she grabbed it with both hands.

But she is not entirely on her own, as she is getting help from her family in running the restaurant, which was renamed The Mint Room, to give it a “fresher” look and feel.

Older brother Mohammed Ali and sister Aksa Sheikh are helping her make it a success, and she said: “I don’t know anyone in the city younger than me running an Indian restaurant.

“It’s the proudest thing for me at such a young age to be running my own restaurant. I have always aspired to do it and have been working towards it, and have now achieved it.”

The former City of Norwich schoolgirl completed her GCSEs and A-levels and then took a business and accountancy qualification at City College Norwich.

She added: “I started working when I was 14. I worked part-time and on weekends in restaurants and businesses. Sometimes I did 12-hour shifts, so I’m ready for this.

“There’s a great potential here. I worked here before I took it on as owner.

“When the opportunity to take it on came, I just went with it. My mind has always been set on running my own restaurant.

“We’ve done up the interior and the kitchen, and upstairs will in time be refurbished. There will be a different vibe upstairs and there will also be a VIP area. And we’ll change the orange colour upstairs.”

The former 18th century chapel, which has also been a gym, was a popular restaurant for a time when it was known as the Oasis.

Mr Ali said: “It was a very proud moment for the whole family when the restaurant was relaunched and Nazia cut the ribbon at the ceremony.

“The Oasis used to do spectacular trade and was very elegant.

“For the name of the restaurant, the Mint Room, we wanted something different, and not something just associated with Indian restaurants. It had to be catchy and easy to remember, and something fresh - and there’s nothing fresher than mint.”

■ Are you younger than Nazia and running your own business? Email reporter David Bale at david.bale2@archant.co.uk

11 comments

  • Tone the moan

    Tuesday, April 29, 2014

  • Moosey - I doubt very much that 'anyone' can open a restaurant at the age of 21 and how do you know it's going to be " poor Indian food", have you been ...?

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    catalonia13

    Monday, April 28, 2014

  • Mooseyt3 and blister should get together, although probably not at an Indian restaurant, they'll get on very well. Nothing like supporting free enterprise is there ? Good luck to them, I say.

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    crunchy dick

    Monday, April 28, 2014

  • Looks great, I look forward to visiting - well done!

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    Capac Raimi

    Monday, April 28, 2014

  • Nazia - good luck with this new venture, always impressive to see someone taking on the risk involved with setting up a new (to you) business. Mooseyt has a point though that in that it would be good to have a more authentic Indian restaurant. Although that point is of course lost in the vitriolic way it's been put. And Blister. Oh dear - this is what's called competition. Look it up in a dictionary. We don't have some committee populated by our betters (which I assume you would see yourself as being on) to plan how many of each thing there needs to be. If you want a planned economy like that then hop on a plane and head off to North Korea, I'm sure they'd welcome you. No, it is good to have competition: if it is good it will stay open. If it is no good it will close.

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    lockers

    Monday, April 28, 2014

  • Would have thought that there were enough Indian restaurants in Norwich. Hate Indian and Chinese food .

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    blister

    Monday, April 28, 2014

  • catalonia13 - what talent? anyone can open a restaurant that serves poor Indian food, and schmucks like you will come. See every other Indian restaurant in Norwich....

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    Mooseyt3

    Monday, April 28, 2014

  • I forgot to add,love the new name! :)

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    catalonia13

    Monday, April 28, 2014

  • Mooseyt3 - I think you misread the article, it isn't about you and what you want, it's about the talent and ability of someone else! Well done to Zazia and all the best!

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    catalonia13

    Monday, April 28, 2014

  • hmmm, I would love an authentic Indian restaurant in Norwich that actually can deliver instead of the same old cliched c**p. The mention of a VIP room just shows that this is all gimmick and not a restaurant at all, more a wannabe London resto-bar-club. lol.

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    Mooseyt3

    Monday, April 28, 2014

  • hmmm, I would love an authentic Indian restaurant in Norwich that actually can deliver instead of the same old cliched c**p. The mention of a VIP room just shows that this is all gimmick and not a restaurant at all, more a wannabe London resto-bar-club. lol.

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    Mooseyt3

    Monday, April 28, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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