A project to help promote integration, community cohesion, understanding and tolerance. Newly arrived refugees from Syria and Iraq are being supported to learn new skills and share their culture. Arabian Bites is a social enterprise and all proceeds go back into the project to help the settlement and integration of newly arrived refugees.
View our menu here!
A GOOD CAUSE RESTAURANT ....
What the newly arrived refugees get out of it …
Learn new skills
Grow in confidence
Develop teamwork skills
Engage in structured ESOL
Engage in structured accredited learning
Access support for job search
Newly arrived refugees from places such as Syria and Iraq are being supported to learn new skills and share their culture. They access the project through self-referral or City Council referral and attend ESOL lessons, Employability Training (a qualification accredited by ASDAN) and training in Food Hygiene, all alongside a volunteering placement in which they run an Arabic restaurant.
Their English skills improve, they learn about the reality of working in a UK based organisation, the regulations involved, employer expectations and they learn new transferrable skills that will help them move closer to employment.
The volunteers receive one to one support throughout the program and are supported into a move on role, whether that is employment, further training or more volunteering.
In addition, local people get to try out amazing new food, experience something of their newly arrived neighbours’ culture and can see the desire of the refugees to give back to their host communities.
In May 2018 we launched a pilot ‘pop up’ restaurant, staffed by volunteer refugees, supported by St Francis Employability staff, serving Arabic food. We were inspired by models such as Jamie Oliver’s ‘15’, in which people from disadvantaged backgrounds were recruited by a restaurant, trained, served amazing food, and moved closer to employment. In our case, the people being trained are newly arrived refugees from war-torn and challenged places such as Syria and Iraq. Facing multiple barriers to employment – lack of English, no evidence of previous work experience or qualifications, stress and trauma and the total upheaval of moving their families from one country to another – they desperately need support to become fully integrated, contributing members of our communities.
They have a strong desire to learn as much as they can and integrate and to get work as soon as possible despite the challenges.
The pilot ran for three months from a church kitchen and 16 volunteers served food, prepared dishes, washed up, took money from customers and kept the place clean. Initially we were supported by a grant of £5000 from Coventry City Council and this money was used to employ one of the most experienced refugees as the chef. We needed to ensure quality of food that we served to the customers and also that volunteers coming into the kitchen were well supervised and trained. We also used some of this money to put the volunteers through food hygiene training.
The pilot was incredibly successful, with a wave of goodwill from the people of Coventry, lots of customers and encouraging reviews.
After the initial three-month period we were offered the use of a kitchen and café space inside a building providing drug and alcohol addiction services. The kitchen needed refitting, but the space was fantastic, and we decided to go for it.
St Francis Employability, the City Council and West Midlands Police supported the refit of the kitchen and we began trading from our new café at the end of August 2018.
Middle Eastern restaurant, serving
Mezze platter - totally vegan - totally yummy!
Eat at our restaurant! We are only funded through sale of foods. In order to be able to work with our refugee volunteers we rely on a regular income. If you would like to support us by making a donation to our work please get in touch.
we are also able to take gift aided donation. contact us on
find us at: 1a Lamb Street Coventry CV1 4AE
tel. 02477 677178
What people say about Arabian Bites
“It is very delicious food, nice atmosphere and good friendly service.”
“Amazing caterers! They catered the very first TEDx Coventry last Saturday and we have heard nothing but raving views about the food from both vegans and non-vegans! The food was authentic, fresh and delicious”
“Delicious food, good value, lovely staff, and all for a good cause. What’s not to love?! I would give more than 5 stars if I could!”
What Coventry gets out of it …
A new place to eat
An opportunity to meet newly arrived neighbours
An opportunity to experience a new food culture
A greater understanding of issues affecting refugees
An appreciation of the positive contribution refugees can make to the city