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You can dine in or have a takeaway - fresh probe over Japanese ‘restaurant’ run from Norwich home

PUBLISHED: 08:12 28 May 2020 | UPDATED: 13:21 28 May 2020

Orlando sold this newspaper a takeaway from his seven bedroom Earlham Road home. Picture: Archant

Orlando sold this newspaper a takeaway from his seven bedroom Earlham Road home. Picture: Archant

Archant

A man who denied running a Japanese restaurant from his Norwich home more than a year ago is selling takeaways and offering the chance to dine in, we can reveal.

The menu and dining options offered to this newspaper. Picture: ArchantThe menu and dining options offered to this newspaper. Picture: Archant

Allegations Orlando Williams had turned his seven-bedroom home on Earlham Road into a restaurant resulted in a Norwich City Council investigation last January.

Officers uncovered a bar and seating for 24 people but no enforcement action was taken after City Hall found no “definitive evidence that shows that the above address is operating as a restaurant.”

A business card given to our reporter from Orlandos. Picture: Ruth LawesA business card given to our reporter from Orlandos. Picture: Ruth Lawes

READ MORE: ‘I haven’t turned my house into a Japanese restaurant’, Norwich man claims

Now, though, this newspaper can reveal Mr Williams is not only accepting takeaway orders, but is flouting lockdown rules by allowing customers to dine indoors.

We were able to purchase a takeaway, which included rice, aubergine and pickled cucumber, after calling Mr Williams, who provided a priced menu by text message.

Orlandos Restaurant operating for take away despite claiming not to be a restaurant. Pictures: Archant Orlandos Restaurant operating for take away despite claiming not to be a restaurant. Pictures: Archant

The food was sold without a food hygiene rating, meaning safety checks were not carried out by inspectors.

According to the Food Standards Agency, the property is awaiting a visit.

Orlandos on Earlham Road which is selling takeaway food and alcohol without the correct planning permission. Picture: Ruth LawesOrlandos on Earlham Road which is selling takeaway food and alcohol without the correct planning permission. Picture: Ruth Lawes

READ MORE: New twist in ‘Japanese restaurant’ saga as City Hall confirms food safety probe

We were also able to buy a beer, from a drinks menu that featured various beers and wines, despite Mr Williams not having a premises licence.

The food ordered from Orlandos, which does not have the planning permission to operate as a takeaway. Picture: Ruth LawesThe food ordered from Orlandos, which does not have the planning permission to operate as a takeaway. Picture: Ruth Lawes

A separate eat-in menu was provided by Mr Williams on collection, who had previously offered the option to eat in his restaurant - despite all others being forced to close due to coronavirus.

When the evidence was put to Mr Williams, who previously ran a legitimate restaurant Sakura Yakiniku on Ber Street, he said: “I am not going to say anything. What you did was wrong.”

READ MORE: Council finds bar and seating for 24 people on visit to disputed Japanese restaurant

Mr Williams was granted permission to run a bed and breakfast in March last year - which only permits him to serve food to overnight guests - but an active Facebook page under his address advertises a restaurant instead.

A job post for a weekend sushi chef was published two months ago, while an earlier post announced Saturday dinner opening hours for customers who booked only.

Following our investigation Norwich City Council said enforcement officers will reopen the case.

READ MORE: House at centre of ‘Japanese restaurant’ row available to rent on Airbnb

A spokesman said: “This is the first report the council has received concerning allegations that takeaway food and drink items were purchased and in-house dining was offered. Council officers will look into this issue in terms of what is and isn’t permitted activity for this business and we’ll be in touch directly with Mr Williams about this.”

My experience of Orlando’s

Most restaurants do not send you round the back to collect food.

They also do not tend to run from a seven-bedroom home on a residential street with a large illuminated sign that the owner has been forced to clarify is just his name.

But, as I discovered after a two-minute phone call and a takeaway a few days later, Orlando’s does.

I was surprised at how easy it was to order from Mr Williams, who I had anticipated to be cautious after the initial story we broke more than one year ago hit national headlines.

But after a short calI I was sent a menu by text message and the offer to eat-in when asked for the dining options.

On collection, Mr Williams was insistent I picked up the food from the back of the house, where I was also handed a separate menu for ‘eat in’ customers and a business card with dinner opening hours.

We will always support businesses in our city - but are obliged to investigate when we feel the rules are not being adhered to.


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