A POPULAR restaurant is returning to a Colchester village to take over a defunct pub almost a year since it closed its old premises.

The Bengal Diner, in Fox Street, Ardleigh, closed its doors to customers in February last year.

The grill and tandoori restaurant said it had been “unable to negotiate a suitable lease at their existing premises”, leaving many residents disappointed.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Closed - the old Bengal Diner site in Fox StreetClosed - the old Bengal Diner site in Fox Street (Image: Google)

Following this, the business merged with the much-loved Colchester Spice, in Barrack Street, combining their services and carrying over some customer favourites.

Following the merge, the business apologised for the inconvenience of the closure and dropped the name.

Now, just under one year later, the business has revealed it is returning to Ardleigh and will help restore an old pub in the process.

A statement said: “We're back bigger and better than ever.

“We just wanted you all to know we will be back in Ardleigh From the end of March.

“We have just taken over the Lion, which as all locals will know sadly closed a while ago.”

The Lion, in The Street, closed during the pandemic. 

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: New life - The Lion pub in The Street, ArdleighNew life - The Lion pub in The Street, Ardleigh (Image: Google)

The pub was put on the market with the last update from the business saying it would “remain closed until it is sold”, with the new owner then deciding what they would like to do with the premises.

“Thank you to everyone who has supported the pub over the years," the statement added.

The Bengal Diner bosses say they are hoping to offer a “more refined” and “higher quality” experience for guests when it reopens in the village.

They said: “We will be offering all your favourites. However, our aim is to offer a more refined dining experience with new dishes, higher quality ingredients and a much better service.

“We will also be offering collections but will not be doing deliveries as we want to concentrate on offering a better service to those who dine with us.

“We do hope you will join us. All Bengal VIPs will be treated to some great opening offers.”

For more information, visit The Lion of Bengal, Colchester Facebook page.