Chinese restaurant spreads its wings

Pauline Lai and Gareth Thomas are opening a noodle bar on the promenade
Pauline Lai and Gareth Thomas are opening a noodle bar on the promenade
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The owners of a popular Blackpool Chinese restaurant have spread their wings across the resort.

Gareth and Pauline Lai-Thomas, who own Michael Wan’s Mandarin on Clifton Street, have been given the go-ahead for the licencing of a new noodle bar on Blackpool Promenade.

The Wok Inn Seaside Noodle Bar, which is expected to open in April, will serve up hot bowls of Chinese, Indonesian, Malaysian and Thai noodles and curry to hungry guests.

It aims to emulate the style of the ruin bars of Budapest – quirky bars with a ‘run down’ style – and will take inspiration from Singapore’s open air hawker markets.

Gareth, 41, said: “We are wanting to bring something new to Blackpool’s community .

“We have done all the ripping out and all the designs and plans. We are bringing a lot of the furniture over from China to make it look authentic.

“It’s really exciting. It’s something a little bit different to what Blackpool’s got at the moment.”

The Mandarin was founded by Pauline’s godfather, Michael Wan, in 1961.

Pauline, 42, took over the restaurant 15 years ago, and was joined by Gareth two years ago following their marriage.

Gareth said: “Business at the Mandarin has been growing over the years. We’re at the stage that we are so busy we are turning away customers.

“As a small restaurant it’s painful to turn business away, and it’s disappointing for the customers if they can’t get in.

“This way we can provide an alternative dining experience.”