Popular Norwich restaurant closes temporarily amid hunt for new head chef

Mambo Jambo restaurant.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Mambo Jambo's in Norwich - Credit: Archant

One of Norwich's most popular restaurants has been forced to temporarily close as it is without a head chef. 

Mambo Jambo's on Lower Goat Lane has been struggling to recruit a replacement chef after their previous one decided to resign following 22 years in the role. 

The restaurant was able to open for three-and-a-half-weeks after coronavirus restrictions were eased, before it then lost its head chef. 

Manager Natalie Pye said: "It was so overwhelming how lovely the customers were when we got back from Covid and that's what we find so sad about the whole situation. 

Inside the Mambo Jambo's restaurant in Norwich

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

"We had a great response with so many loyal customers so to not be able to open again is very disheartening." 

A recruitment advert for a new head chef reached more than 8,000 people on social media, but resulted in just two responses. 

Finding staff is proving difficult for many companies at the moment in the current climate. 

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Ms Pye said: "With Covid, people have had the chance to spend more time at home with their families and it has made them realise what they are missing. 

"Hospitality requires working weekends and someone's partner may work Monday to Friday so they may not have had a real chance to see them.

"It looks like 90pc of Norwich restaurants are recruiting for chefs at the moment." 

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

Mambo Jambo's in Norwich has had to temporarily close - Credit: Archant

There are currently 14 members of staff on furlough from Mambo Jambo's, which has become well-known for its Tex-Mex dishes and US diner classics.

The eatery is looking for two new chefs to be able to cope with the demand, with previous head chef experience required. 

Ms Pye, whose partner Martin Jamieson started the restaurant 26-years-ago, said the diner is hoping to find someone as soon as possible.

She added: "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." 

If you are interested in the head chef, email your CV to mambojambos1@hotmail.com.