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Shop Local: A taste of Palestine in north London

PUBLISHED: 14:09 30 October 2020 | UPDATED: 14:14 30 October 2020

Café Palestina n Kentish Town. Picture: Mark Collinson.

Café Palestina n Kentish Town. Picture: Mark Collinson.

Mark Collinson

A Kentish Town business aims to highlight humanitarian issues and to provide a marketplace for Palestinian people to sell their goods.

Nandita Dowson  (left) from Cafe Palestina with Annika Miller-Jones from CADFA at a CADFA event in Cafe Palestina in the days before social distancing. Picture: Mark Collinson.Nandita Dowson (left) from Cafe Palestina with Annika Miller-Jones from CADFA at a CADFA event in Cafe Palestina in the days before social distancing. Picture: Mark Collinson.

Café Palestina, opened by Nandita Dowson, along with her Palestinian husband and their two children, enables people of Palestine to sell products such as pottery, olive wood, soaps and art.

“This cafe had been an idea for a long time. We wanted somewhere on a high street to present the lovely and human things about Palestine...and help people understand that Palestinians are people with a culture and a history worth respecting,” said Nandita.

The cafe is home to the Camden Abu Dis Friendship Association (CADFA), a UK charity that works to promote awareness about the human rights situation in Palestine, providing an office and workspace for conferences and public events. It also supports CADFA through literature and fund raising.

Café Palestina also hosts a number of events each month, including Palestine-themed cultural events such as music, poetry, talks, a book-club, an Arabic-speaking clubs with games and songs for little children, Arabic classes and photography exhibitions.

Café Palestina n Kentish Town. Picture: Mark Collinson.Café Palestina n Kentish Town. Picture: Mark Collinson.

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The food it sells is classic Palestinian cuisine with Thursdays reserved for a vegan night.

Café Palestina n Kentish Town. Picture: Mark Collinson.Café Palestina n Kentish Town. Picture: Mark Collinson.

“Palestinian food lends itself to delicious vegan adaptation as there is little use of butter or milk products in cooking, and the meat is easily replaced,” said Nandita.

For non-vegan there is also makloubeh, meaning “upside down”, a slow cooked meat and rice dish, usually made on a Friday.

Lockdown restrictions have meant a limited menu as well as reduced number inside Café Palestina

“We used to depend on crowding people in for supper clubs and events in a way we cannot do now and the future is not clear to us yet, which is why we have only taken a couple of little steps towards opening so far,” said Nandita.

For more information on Café Palestina, in Fortress Road, visit https://cafepalestina.co.uk/


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