A prominent Newcastle restaurant has reopened after a £600,000 make-over, turning it into a Thai eatery.
The striking Waterside Palace building on Newcastle Quayside’s Forth Banks has been revamped by new owner Jeab Prapunwong, who has launched Mantra Thai Restaurant.
Mr Prapunwong has taken over the standalone building which was once a Chinese restaurant, creating new jobs in kitchen and waiting roles.
He said: “This beautiful building right on the river Tyne is in such a fantastic location. It’s right in the middle of the action without being too suffocated by the hustle and bustle. “Having been in the area for many years, I also felt it important to give something back to the community. Hopefully the jobs created by Mantra’s opening will help with that.”
When the restaurant opened, Mr Prapunwong said he put his love of good food and design at the forefront of the launch.
He added: “I think the authentic and passionate cooking of our head chefs – husband and wife Keaw and Chaoy Srida – really shines through and helps give us a personality of our own.
“It’s going to be food full of passion that comes right from the heart – excellent authentic Thai food cooked the authentic way.”
The £36m Newcastle City Centre Police Station recently opened on Forth Banks, opposite the Waterside Palace. It is the operational base for 600 Northumbria Police officers and staff working in Newcastle and Gateshead. The development took three years of construction work.
Mr Prapunwong’s extended family have owned and operated a number of other restaurants in their native Thailand.
He added: “I haven’t trained as a chef myself, but going back as far as I can remember my family have owned and run traditional Thai restaurants in Thailand. I’m really looking forward to bringing that traditional feel to Newcastle.
“For anyone who was looking to work with us I’d say put your heart in to all aspects of your job. We want care, passion and attention to detail for the experience of all customers.
“I chose the name Mantra because I wanted a name with strong meaning behind it. The name Mantra I feel evokes an emotion and reflects that my heart is in this.”