Former Syrian restaurateur Imad Alarnab will be opening a pop-up restaurant next month to raise money for refugee funds and work towards owning his own restaurant again.
Between 9-24 March, Alarnab will open ‘Imad's Syrian Kitchen' on Columbia Road, with 10% of ticket sales to go towards #CookForSyria and Unicef.
Alarnab was a successful restaurateur in Damascus with two restaurants and several juice bars and cafes, which were destroyed during the war, and he was forced to flee the country in search of safety for his family.
When he arrived in the UK, he found work as a car salesman and was able to bring his family to join him in England. He also became involved as an advisor for the #CookForSyria initiative, helping raise money for Syrian children with Unicef's NEXTGeneration.
The restaurant will serve a three-course menu of Syrian dishes including Fattoush (toasted flatbreads, pomegranate molasses, tomato and cucumber), Kabsa (spicy chicken with cardamom and rice) and Tabakh Rohoo (aubergine, squash and tamarind stew).
The restaurant will be a family kitchen-table style supper, with food served on sharing platters to be eaten communally with other diners. The restaurant will be staffed by Alarnab's friends and fellow refugees living and working in London. Through this pop-up, he hopes to own a restaurant again.
Online retail space marketplace Appear Here has sponsored the pop-up, with the cost of food sponsored by the Hampstead Kitchen's Feeding Fund, which supports homeless and refugees projects both in the UK and abroad.
Alarnab said: "I'm proud to share some of my favourite Syrian dishes with the people of London. This food isn't your typical restaurant food; it's the food you have with your family, and it's a taste of home. What excites me most about this project is that I feel like I've met London for the first time. London is an old city, but it is full of young life. It means the future for me and most importantly my daughters. I'm looking forward to a new start here."
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