Akub Restaurant Palestinian London Notting Hill

Non-Halal Palestinian Akub accused of alienating own people

Akub Restaurant Palestinian London Notting Hill

Credit: Akub

A Palestinian restaurant has been accused of having “alienated” its own community for not serving Halal meat less than a week before its official launch.

Questions over whether Akub in London’s Notting Hill really does “celebrate Palestinian identity and culture” were raised after announcing on Instagram that “we have chosen not to serve halal meat”.

“Do you know why they have opted not to serve halal meat? So disappointing,” asks nada2seee on Instagram

But a spokesperson for the restaurant has told FtLion that “Akub looks at Palestine from a perspective that specifically celebrates the diversity and richness of the terroir and Palestinian identity, including the historic presence of many faiths”.

The new venue, which soft opened on Uxbridge Street last month, is run by Fadi Kattan, a “Franco-Palestinian” chef born in Bethlehem and who currently resides there running Fawda restaurant, and his business partner Rasha Khouri, who “comes from a Palestinian family that had to flee Yaffa in the 1948 Nakba”.

Despite “ensuring that guests of all dietary requirements and preferences are catered for”, Akub was confronted by Instagram user ‘optaamuss’ yesterday who alleged that his visit was “now tainted by finding out the place was not halal AFTER our visit”.

Having apparently dined there “with my Palestinian wife for our anniversary”, he declared: “By CHOOSING not to serve halal food you have alienated your own Palestinian community from coming and enjoying the restaurant. Which frankly shows the intention here is not one to include and celebrate Palestinian identity and culture.”

Menu ‘reflection of what many people in Palestine eat’, says Akub

According to World Population Review: “Islam is the predominant religion in Palestine, with nearly 85% of people practicing it in Palestine as a whole,” suggesting that the vast majority will most likely observe the Halal diet.

Akub told FtLion that they “want to make sure there is something for everyone on the menu and as a result we have an array of dishes that are halal-friendly and an actual reflection of what many people in Palestine eat”.

Akub: “We want to make sure there is something for everyone on the menu…. We have an array of dishes that are halal-friendly”

Optaamuss also brought up the issue of transparency by urging Akub “to make sure your staff actively let your guests know who maybe visibly Muslim that the place isn’t halal”.

Akub responded by ensuring that “all the team (both servers and in the kitchen) are fully educated on dishes and the menu, so we welcome guests to ask questions and will happily guide them on ordering”.

Optaamuss raised concerns over the question of cross-contamination too suggesting that “while there may be fish options on the menu, they may not be halal due to the use of non-halal ingredients such as brandy”.

But Akub informed FtLion that while “all preparations are separate in the kitchen (meat, fish, dairy, vegetables, etc.), and therefore avoid contamination and can be considered halal-friendly”.

The spokesperson further clarified that the only item with alcohol as an ingredient – as “clearly stated on the menu” – is the arak-cured sea bream, with Arak being “the oldest distilled alcohol known to mankind”.

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  • What a shame.

    13 Jan '23

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