It has been an exciting time in Notting Hill with high-profile restaurant line-ups coming up one after another. One of the most exciting names is Akub, a Palestinian restaurant run by Franco-Palesinian chef, Fadi Kattan. This is Fadi’s second restaurant after Fawda in the Old City of Bethlehem, Palestine. Different to another longstanding Palestinian restaurant in the area, Maramia Cafe, Akub is going after a fine-dining direction to showcase his French culinary training background and bring a progressive modern take on Palestinian cuisine to London.
Akub restaurant is located among the rows of colourful pastel buildings near Eggbreak and Kuro Eatery on Uxbridge Road in Notting Hill. Spanning three floors in a converted townhouse, the restaurant is charmingly spacious with a meticulous eye for detail in its interior design. The ground floor dining room featured muted tones but with a pop of vibrant materials and was decorated with olive branches hanging from vintage keys. Heading up the stairs to the second level would then take you to a serene courtyard-like dining room with brick walls, a glass butterfly roof and a large olive tree tucked in the corner. Lastly, the top floor, i.e. where I sat, has a glorious amount of natural light filtering in through its large windows and lighting up the earthy tones of the interiors.
Palestinian Restaurant Akub Chooses Not to Serve Halal
Everything about Akub restaurant is pointing to greatness and has so much potential to appeal to the London market. However, they’ve made a decision that may have, in our opinion, shot themselves in the foot. Even though Palestine has a huge Muslim-majority population, Akub has rather controversially decided to not serve halal meats at its restaurant. Despite claiming to ensure “that guests of all dietary requirements and preferences are catered for”, they have “chosen” not to serve halal meat. It was unexpected, to say the least.
According to Feed The Lion, a spokesperson at Akub has expressed that the restaurant “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”. Whilst it’s certainly great to acknowledge the diverse cultures & faiths, it also doesn’t sit right for us to omit the country’s biggest religion & community. Without a doubt, this will cause the restaurant to miss out on a lot of the halal dining market in London. Obviously, there are still vegetarian & seafood options available, but it still takes away a lot of the appeal.
The Food at Akub Notting Hill
Date of visit: February 2023
Arabic Coffee French Toast (£14)
One brunch dish that’s really popped out on Akub’s menu is the Arabic Coffee French Toast. It consists of brioche french toast dusted with cocoa and topped with rose petals, served with sweet whipped laban and syrup. I was expecting a strong coffee taste from the french toast but it was so subtle I probably wouldn’t even notice if I didn’t know beforehand. The centre was lightly custardy, but not as moist as I would’ve liked. It came with whipped laban, which wasn’t too sweet to taste and added a tangy touch to the dish. Overall, the dish was nice but it didn’t wow me the way I expected.
Fresh Mint Tea (£4)
Instead of my usual coffee, I went with a Mint Tea instead. The tea was soothing, vibrant, and clean to taste. It has a strong herbal aroma but is never overpowering nor has any hint of bitterness. Whilst the quality is undoubtedly there, £4 did feel slightly steep for just one cup.
Akub Restaurant Review Summary
There is no doubt that Akub has an enormous amount of potential. Whilst I wasn’t completely blown away by the French Toast, I do appreciate its overall contemporary approach and sophisticated touch. Moreover, the restaurant ambience is faultless and I thoroughly enjoyed the vibe & dining atmosphere.
Since its opening, the restaurant has been very well-received, especially among non-Muslim customers. I just couldn’t help but feel it’s missing out on the halal dining market. For one, I would’ve loved to pop by with my husband, who only has eyes for meats, for a date-night dinner and I would’ve loved to try their take on a classic Palestinian Mousakhan, or their Short Rib Fatteh and Crunchy Mansaf. I’m sure these dishes would’ve been a popular hit if they were halal! I genuinely hope that one day Akub would change its mind and cater at least some halal meats in the future.