business

Facelift for Birmingham restaurant striving 'to reach full potential'

Owners of venue in Colmore Business District want to spruce up the exterior of its Grade II-listed home so passers-by know it is there

The outside of a restaurant in the heart of Birmingham's business district is set to undergo some gentle cosmetic work so it can "reach its full potential".

Nosh & Quaff, which is owned by Lasan Group and specialises in lobsters, burgers and hot dogs, opened in a Grade II-listed former bank in Colmore Row two years ago.

But the owners are now seeking permission from the city's planning authorities to spruce up the outside of the building so passers-by realise there is a restaurant inside.

A new planning application has been lodged with the city council to install sliding windows, planters on sills and illuminated signs in the top, arched sections of the ground floor windows.

Aktar Islam, chef director of Lasan Group, said: "The business is not in any trouble and we are not about to close but it's not reaching its potential.

"The building is not allowed to stand out as a place for evening entertainment and any signage we want to put up has to go inside because the place is listed.

The historic 130 Colmore Row is set to undergo some cosmetic work

"We are trying to brighten up the building and anything we do would be done so tastefully.

"We have invested a lot of money into this venture and every business has a potential to reach and ours is not able to do that at the moment."

Nosh & Quaff opened in July 2015 after a seven-figure invesment and urges its customers to "get messy" as they adorn plastic bibs and eat lobster with their fingers.

At the time, it brought the number of restaurants in the Lasan Group stable up to four, joining its renowned Jewellery Quarter venue of the same name, Indian street café Raja Monkey in Hall Green and Argentine eatery Fiesta del Asado in Edgbaston.

The city centre has seen an unprecedented level of activity over the past couple of years in terms of new bar and restaurant launches but more recently there have been casaulties with Handmade Burger Company, Lobster Peninsula and Viva Brazil among those to close.

The deal to open Nosh & Quaff in 130 Colmore Row, which was built in 1903, came after Chinese investors acquired the former home of Alliance Assurance in 2014.

Nosh & Quaff is working on the proposals with Digbeth-based Faber Design & Architecture which created the interior of the new Adams restaurant in Waterloo Street and Buffalo & Rye in Bennetts Hill.

Nosh & Quaff opened two years ago but owners say it is struggling to stand out

Faber said in a planning report that Nosh & Quaff was "failing to serve its purpose as a financially viable bar and restaurant".

"Our aim with the alterations to the elevations is to convey to passers-by that the building is a bar and restaurant," it added.

"With the illuminated signage and aesthetically pleasing planters, the building will attract much-needed attention in a subtle way that is sympathetic to its environment.

"The purpose of the sliding windows is to allow potential customers a 'sneak peek' into the building and draw people in as well as providing additional natural ventilation.

"Overall, we feel the proposal makes the necessary alterations to give the current business a better chance at continuing trading."

Mr Islam said the team had considered installing canopies outside the building akin to those which adorn Harrods in London but was told by the city council this would not be supported.

He added: "There has been a flag pole sticking out of the building for so many years and for a while it had a Chinese flag hanging off it but we were not even allowed to put a banner on that. It's a bit silly.

"People walking through Victoria Square don't realise it's a restaurant. The existing signs are the size of A3 sheets of paper.

"There's nothing we can do to allow the building to stand out."

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