Restaurant to re-open after new head chef found

Mambo Jambo restaurant is at the centre of a debate about the use of language. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Mambo Jambo restaurant is at the centre of a debate about the use of language. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The wait is over for a Tex-Mex restaurant on the hunt for a new head chef.

Mambo Jambo, on Lower Goat Lane in Norwich, had to close on June 15 when its previous head chef, in the job for 22 years, resigned just three-and-a-half weeks after Covid restrictions were eased.

But new head chef Petrisor Ionescu has now taken up the mantle, and will be running the show in the kitchen this Friday when the restaurant re-opens to the public at 5pm.

Manager Natalie Pye said: "We're really looking forward to welcoming our customers back after what has been quite a trying time.

"It was such an important position to fill that we didn't want to rush it.

"We've had such wonderful messages of support from people on Facebook and we want to thank them for that."

Mambo Jambo restaurant.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Mambo Jambo restaurant.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Ms Pye said going through the recruitment process after 22 years was a "real eye-opener".

"It was a weird experience", she said. "But this specialist recruitment company in Norwich, Bread Hospitality, helped make the whole thing easier."

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The new chef, Mr Ionescu, used to be the designated head chef at Turtle Bay restaurant, and has a "wealth of experience" to draw on from his many cheffing jobs around Norwich.

Ms Pye said: "He's got some fantastic ideas and we can't wait to share them with customers.

"When we re-open on Friday, we'll be offering the existing menu.

"But we'll be offering new dishes on our specials board for people to try that we'll be phasing into the menu.

"It's going to be really great."

She added that for a period of time, opening hours at the restaurant would be intermittent — but that it'll always be opening on weekend evenings.

Inside the Mambo Jambo's restaurant in Norwich

Inside the Mambo Jambo's restaurant in Norwich - Credit: Contributed

Customers, she said, should check Mambo Jambo's Facebook page for regular updates.

Speaking highly of her previous head chef, Ms Pye said: "At the end of the day we felt very lucky to have had our previous head chef on board for 22 years. He has not gone anywhere else in the industry.

"To have someone for that long is nearly unheard of in hospitality." 

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