A NEW sushi restaurant could be opening at a former shoe shop in Bournemouth that has been lying empty since last summer.

Owners of the Korean and Japanese eatery, called Kokoro, have submitted an application to BCP Council to change the use of the vacant Jones Bootmaker store to a café.

If successful in their application, the restaurateurs will start work refurbishing the inside of the premises, including installing a new kitchen, servery and seating areas on the ground and first floor, and toilets.

Kokoro also has restaurants in Uxbridge, Reading, Maidstone, Kingston-upon-Thames, Croydon, and Liverpool.

Owners describe their brand as “well-respected and established”, with an aim to provide a “sushi café that also offers a range of freshly-made hot food with a Japanese and Korean influence”, offering customers “an alternative to the day-to-day pasta, sandwiches or salads”.

No work is proposed for the outside of the building, apart from the installation of new signage for the restaurant, and redecoration of window frames and pilasters.

“Having researched and looked around the nearby area at the food offerings and operations

there appears to be an opening in the market for such an offer providing more variety and

taste experience – adding to the town centre offering,” Kokoro’s application states.

As well as sushi the menu includes chicken teriyaki, chicken katsu curry, Korean beef stew, yakisoba, and spicy pork.

Food would be prepared freshly on site daily and prepared in a “modern, clean and fresh environment”, Kokoro adds.

Jones Bootmaker is one of several shop units that have been lying empty for some time in Bournemouth town centre.

In the winter, outreach workers from the council had to help a pair of rough sleepers after a small camp was built in the entrance of the empty shop unit.