We get behind the scenes with Hanan Kattan, founder of new opening Tabun Kitchen, serving up Jerusalem street food inspired dishes…

Describe Tabun Kitchen in 3 words…

Welcoming, delicious, authentic.

From film to food. Tell us a bit about your background…

I’ve always been an entrepreneur. I moved into film production purely to produce the films written and directed by my wife Shamim Sarif and we’ve made four features to date. I love producing films. Our latest film, Despite the Falling Snow, stars Charles Dance and Rebecca Ferguson opened earlier this year in cinemas. While I was waiting for Shamim to finish her last script, I worked on the plan for Tabun Kitchen. When I found a site in Soho, I jumped on it. We love Soho and have worked a lot here on our films, so it feels like a second home.

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What made you decide to open Tabun Kitchen? 

Food is a passion for me, and I want Tabun Kitchen to be a warm, welcoming place where people can enjoy delicious, home-cooked food in a relaxing atmosphere. We love entertaining at home and I hope Tabun Kitchen can become almost an extension of that.

Where does the food take inspiration from?

The Palestinian-inspired food is filled with the authentic tastes and flavours that I grew up with and many of the recipes come from my mother and grandmother.

The Palestinian-inspired food is filled with the authentic tastes and flavours that I grew up with and many of the recipes come from my mother and grandmother. Freshness is key. We eat a lot of this food at home and over the years, have evolved it to become a little more healthy – using olive oil sparingly, and focusing on lean white chicken, sea bass, fresh salads and mezze that are flavoured with lemon juice, garlic and herbs.

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What type of dishes will be served throughout the day?

Breakfast has a variety of dishes to choose from including Shakshuka, Za’atar Manaeesh and many other freshly cooked Palestinian options. Our concept is a sharing concept. Lunch will be freshly baked Tabun bread wraps, mezze and soup. Dinner is a sharing concept – guests will be able to choose from a range of mezzes (the hummus and warm kale salad are my favourites!) and also share more substantial Palestinian home-style dishes like a ‘samke harra’ (spicy sea bass) and ‘musakhan’ (chicken with caramelised onions and pine nuts) and also some delicious grilled meat, fish and prawns.

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What type of foods define “Jerusalem Street food”?

Jerusalem is such a vibrant melting pot of cultures and traditions that I think there’s always something exciting and new to discover.

Jerusalem is such a vibrant melting pot of cultures and traditions that I think there’s always something exciting and new to discover. Two of my favourites are Uddssieh (Uds means ‘Jerusalem’ in Arabic) – a divine mixture of hummus and spiced fava beans served warm. It’s a traditional breakfast dish but we also serve it as a mezze for lunch and dinner. And kanafe is a unique dessert from the region – melting cheese from Nablus (Hebron) topped with a crisp topping and drenched in syrup. Irresistible.

Your favourite food local loves in London?

Nobu for Japanese – always exquisite. Royal China for fresh and delicious dim sum, and many, many more.

Tabun Kitchen | 77 Berwick St, London W1F 8TH 

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