Imad’s Syrian Kitchen is run by a Syrian refugee named Imad Alarnab.
And his story’s pretty extraordinary. He was one of the most famous chefs in Damascus, then civil war forced him to flee to Europe, eventually making it to the UK where he started a pop up restaurant and donated the proceeds to charity. After several years, he finally has a permanent place of his own again, which we consider to be one of the best restaurants in Soho, if not the whole city. It comes down to the simple things: friendly staff, great food, and Imad’s often there welcoming guests himself.
Earlier this year, Imad’s Syrian Kitchen moved into a larger space in its home of Kingly Court, just off Carnaby Street. The design pays homage to Imad’s original restaurant in Damascus, with lots of light; natural, textured furnishings; and the occasional splash of colour, from the patterned floor tiles right down to the lampshades adorning the cocktail bar, which were inspired by traditional Sidriyeh waistcoats. And through a small window into the kitchen, you can catch a peek – and a whiff – of the fragrant food being made here.
That food includes the Middle Eastern classics you’d naturally expect: hummus with sumac, delicately spiced falafel, baba ghanoj with pomegranate seeds, etc. But the larger space has allowed Imad and his team to cook up some dishes he hasn’t served here before, and that you may well not have tried – like Naqaniq, garlic & lamb sausages with Aleppo peppers; and Konafa Nableseh, a dessert of crunchy vermicelli with sweet cream cheese. Imad’s Syrian Kitchen is also now serving breakfast for the first time, lavishing you with the likes of Fatteh (crisp pitta with creamy chickpeas and melted ghee) and fresh mint tea.
These are the kinds of dishes that will stay with you for weeks, maybe even months after visiting, so luckily there are copies of Imad’s cookbook – signed by the man himself – available here too. They make excellent reading while enjoying a Syrian Cosmo from the bar, or a little pistachio ice cream with candy floss.
And best of all, the new space means more seats available at his evening supperclubs, which so far have raised incredible amounts for charity.
Like we said, he’s pretty extraordinary.
NOTE: Imad’s Syrian Kitchen is open now. You can find out more, and book a table, right HERE.
Imad’s Syrian Kitchen | Top Floor, Kingly Court, Carnaby St, W1B 5PW
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