Transformation of former Zanzibar club into Cosmo restaurant nears completion
A FORMER Derby nightclub is through to the final stages of a £1 million-plus refurbishment to turn it into an all-you-can-eat restaurant, creating more than 50 jobs.
The former Zanzibar nightclub, in London Road, is being transformed into a Cosmo restaurant, which will be large enough to accommodate 330 diners. Once completed, the 15,000sq ft banquet-style restaurant will serve about 180 dishes from 14 different countries.
The revamp includes installing 60 metres of counters, featuring grills, hot plates and chilled cabinets, where dishes including Indian, Brazilian, Japanese and European cuisine will be prepared.
Dishes will also be prepared at 10 "live" cooking stations in front of customers. Another feature of the restaurant will be a large glass wine and beer cabinet, showcasing drinks from all around the world.
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Cosmo says no expense has been spared with the refit, which will feature soft seating, marble surfaces, natural stone counters and a rippling wooden ceiling.
The firm, which is based in Barnet, Hertfordshire, currently has 12 restaurants nationwide. Derby will be its first outlet in the East Midlands.
Kan Koo, group operations director at Cosmo, said the chain was attracted to the city by the "huge potential" of the building, which began life as the Gaumont Palace cinema.
He said: "We chose to open a restaurant here in Derby because we believe the city is going places.
"We liked the fact that the city is marketing itself to outsiders and is undergoing an investment programme to improve itself, which is why we have chosen to invest here ourselves. In particular, we were drawn to the building and could see its potential at the outset. We believe that our investment in the building will return it to its former glory and hope that it will once again have a place in people's hearts."
The Gaumont, which opened in 1934, was eventually closed in 1988 after part of its ornate plaster ceiling collapsed.
In 2000, the building was converted into Zanzibar nightclub. But when the venue closed in 2010, the building fell into disrepair.
Cosmo had said its refurbishment, which it started six months ago, would be sympathetic to the building's heritage and there would be a nod to its past life with themed television screens around the restaurant, which is due to open at the end of next month.
Diners will pay £7.50 a head at lunchtimes and £12.99 per person in the evenings.
Mr Koo said: "Cosmo is one of the UK's fastest-growing casual dining restaurant groups and we are looking forward to introducing our dining experience to the people of Derby and its surrounding areas."