Asian-inspired street food business to open in former cafe

Owner of XO kitchen, Jimmy Preston will be offering patrons of the new look Artichoke pub on Magdale

XO Kitchen owner and chef Jimmy Preston - Credit: Neil Didsbury

It has become a go-to destination for foodies and played a part in transforming the north of the city into a culinary hotspot.

And after attracting hordes of people to The Artichoke in Magdalen Road, XO Kitchen is opening up in a vacant St Georges Street unit, previously operated by Cafe Pure.

XO Kitchen, which was started by chef Jimmy Preston more than two years ago, will continue to operate at The Artichoke but on a more casual basis.

The chef of 25 years hoped to open his bigger base by November and said: "It will be funky, cool and out there. It will have our stamp on it.

"I want it to be a place for people to hang out and not be too formal."

Mr Preston, 40, grew up in Blakeney and moved to Norwich aged 20.

"On St Georges Street we have got Last Bar and Restaurant at one end and Fup Burger dishes being served at The Dog House at the other end of the street.

"It is going to create a nice hub for independent restaurants.

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"I'm sure it is going to the next St Benedicts," he added.

The chef said he would serve typical XO Kitchen Asian-inspired dishes in the evenings and would put his unique twist on other food and drink offerings.

He was also looking forward to serving breakfast pastries and hot drinks as well as sandwiches for lunch for nearby office workers.

Mr Preston added: "It would be stupid to ignore that trade. We have got to carry on that reputation the previous business had."

The chef said the inside of the cafe, which can serve between 50 and 60 people at a time, would employ up to 10 people and operate from Tuesday to Saturday.

It currently employs seven.

Cafe Pure at St Georges Street in Norwich. Photo: Carl Mann

Cafe Pure on St Georges Street in Norwich before it closed - Credit: Carl Mann

He added: "The customers at The Artichoke have been amazing. The NR3 area is thriving for food offerings. Covid did us really well."

During the 18 months of various restrictions XO Kitchen served up many takeaways as well as sending out meal kits to homes around the country including Kent, Essex and Brighton.