Latest opening: Akub

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Franco-Palestinian chef Fadi Kattan opens modern Palestinian restaurant Akub in Notting Hill

Related tags Akub Fadi Kattan Restaurant Palestine

Franco-Palestinian chef Fadi Kattan's debut UK restaurant explores the culinary history of Palestine through a contemporary lens.

What: ​The latest addition to Notting Hill's increasingly enthralling restaurant scene, Akub has been billed as being modern Palestinian with an eye on 'celebrating the under-represented rich culinary history of Palestine'. 

Who: ​Akub marks the UK debut for Franco-Palestinian chef Fadi Kattan, who has launched the restaurant with his business partner, Rasha Khouri. Kattan came to prominence through Fawda, his restaurant in the West Bank of Bethlehem that he opened back in 2015 and which was once described by the LA Times​ as being 'modern, irreverent and forward-looking'. He's considered an authority on modern Palestinian cuisine and has featured in many international publications including BBC News, The Guardian, Monocle, ​and N Lifestyle (UAE)​, as well as Jamie Oliver’s televised exploration of the region, and Jancis Robinson’s travelogue.

The food: ​Akub's menu is described as a reimagining of Palestine's culinary heritage. It is not halal - a decision that has been met with criticism from some members of London's Palestinian community. Dishes combine Palestinian produce, supplied by fairtrade co-operative Zaytoun, with British seasonal ingredients, with Kattan taking inspiration for the cooking from the cultural influences of his upbringing. The sharing plates menu is split between 'land', 'sea' and 'meat' dishes, with a small selection of snacks and desserts also available. It's early days, but the restaurant's signature dish is fast becoming the bukjet mousakhan, which sees chicken, onion and sumac served in a baked bread parcel. Other options, meanwhile, include Akub focaccia available to order with red lentil moutabal; arak-cured sea bream; crunchy mansaf balls; and grape vine leaves stuffed with skate. Prices are typical for the Notting Hill area, with smaller plates ranging from £5 to £15 each and larger options primarily pitched between the £20 and £30 mark. 

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The drink: ​Along with a selection of wines, Akub offers a range of beers, arak and other spirits from Palestine, some of which have been supplied by The Muaddi Craft Distillery, a family-owned business producing handcrafted small-batch arak and craft beer from Taybeh. Like the food menu, the cocktails have been designed to champion key Palestinian ingredients, including amarideen apricot paste.

The vibe: ​Set within a former townhouse, Akub has a suitably homely feel with gentle lighting and a pastel colour scheme of olive greens, earthy pinks, oranges and sand tones that combine to echo Palestine’s landscape. The restaurant's design has been overseen by Annie Harrison of FARE INC, with the space split over a number of levels and holding 68 covers in total. The ground and first floor dining rooms are muted but textured, with Verdigiris copper crafted lights, Herbon glass cases, bespoke wall hangings and olive bowls defining the space. Hanging vintage keys are displayed on walls throughout as a nod to the Palestinian key and a symbol of homes lost in the region. Tableware has been sourced from Palestinian ceramist Nur Minawi.

And another thing: ​Akub takes its name for the Arabic word for a cardoon, which is also known as an artichoke thistle and has long been a part of the Palestinian diet. Curiously, at the time of the restaurant's launch, akub isn't actually on the menu, although Kattan is understood to be on the hunt for a supplier in order to rectify that.

27 Uxbridge St, London W8 7TQ 
akub-restaurant.com

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