Syrian pop-up restaurant launched in Shoreditch to raise funds for children’s hospital

A new pop-up kitchen has launched in the heart of London Shoreditch to raise funds for a children’s hospital in Syria.

Run by Syrian refugee Imad Alarnab and charity Help Refugees, Imad’s Choose Love Kitchen invites customers to ‘experience the true taste of Syria’.

Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the famous flower market on Columbia Road, the new restaurant serves a traditional 3-course Syrian meal, cooked by one of the most famous chefs from Damascus.

All the profits raised will be used to fund Hope Hospital, a children’s hospital that has saved thousands of lives in Syria’s Aleppo region.

Hope Hospital became the first ever crowdfunded hospital in early 2016, providing incubators for new born babies, treatments for pregnant and postnatal women and lifesaving surgical operations to those injured in the conflict.

It is the only paediatric hospital in the Aleppo region, serving a community of over 250,000 people. But in a month, if funds aren’t raised, Hope Hospital will be forced to close.

Following the huge success of the Choose Love Store in Soho, Help Refugees has teamed up with the incredible Imad Alarnab to save Hope Hospital. Imad was a successful restaurateur in Damascus with two restaurants. But during the war, his restaurants were destroyed, and he was forced to flee the country in search of safety for his family. It was through this journey that he first met Help Refugees.


When he arrived in the UK, Imad found work as a car salesman and was able to bring his family to join him in England. Over time, he began to dream of running his own restaurant again. Imad then opened a series of pop-up restaurants in London that sold out every single night. This time round, instead of doing it for himself, he wanted to raise money for the people who really need it.

Syrian refugee and chef Imad Alarnab, said: “For years I have had this dream. From the day I left Syria until today, I wanted to use my cooking to bring people together to experience the true taste of Syria. This restaurant is about giving something back; to the people of Britain who have welcomed me; and to the people of Syria who really need our help right now.”

Josie Naughton CEO of Help Refugees says: “The recent bombing campaigns in Syria have been absolutely atrocious and we knew we had to do something to help. Working with Imad, we wanted to create something positive amid the chaos. A place where the British public can see refugees contributing to the culture of Britain, and at the same time give people a simple, practical way to help those most in need.”

The restaurant will be fully staffed by Help Refugees volunteers, who will be on hand to serve food, answer any questions and take donations.

Customers simply buy a ticket online and turn up to enjoy a set menu of Imad’s signature Syrian dishes. All tickets cost just £40, and there will be two sittings for 20 people per night (and two per day on Sundays) where customers will have an hour and a half to enjoy a three-course feast.

It’s BYO with a £5 corkage donation that will go directly to Hope Hospital. Diners can also expect surprise celebrity staff, events and special promotions.

The restaurant will be open from 28th March until the end of May, but if fully-booked Imad and Help Refugees plan to extend their stay for at least another month.


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