Edinburgh's first Syrian restaurant opens in city centre

The Capital is spoiled for cuisines from around the globe but a Syrian family noticed that one type of food was difficult to find in Edinburgh.
Abdullah Razzouk is adding Syrian food to Edinburgh's palateAbdullah Razzouk is adding Syrian food to Edinburgh's palate
Abdullah Razzouk is adding Syrian food to Edinburgh's palate

The city’s first Syrian restaurant opened its doors over the weekend and is offering locals a taste of authentic Levantine cuisine.

Located where Bread Street meets West Port, owner Abdullah Razzouk and his family have launched Taza in Town, an extension of their already established Newhaven bakery, Taza Bake, which began operating in 2015.

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“We started with Taza Bake, it’s a family business and it was the first flatbread manufacturer in Scotland, we’re still based in Stewartfield in Newhaven but we have expanded.” said Mr Razzouk, “Over the last two years we opened up a small shop in Stewartfield selling the stonebaked Syrian pies which is our speciality.

It all began with flatbreads and stonebaked piesIt all began with flatbreads and stonebaked pies
It all began with flatbreads and stonebaked pies
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Taza, meaning ‘fresh’, is a the heart of the cuisine offered at the establishment, their fresh food like meat and vegetables comes from local suppliers but the dried herbs are specially picked from producers in the Levantine area.

Mr Razzouk added: “The Levantine area is Syria, Jordan, Palestine and even Turkey, the food is very similar but the difference is how it is prepared and what herbs you’re using.

“To make it authentic you need the right herbs and ingredients, we specially select them from different areas to offer our customers great authentic flavour.

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While Mr Razzouk says he has always liked eating and enjoying flavours, his background is far from a cooking career.

Originally from Aleppo, Syria, he moved to Scotland in 2002 to study for a degree in Aberdeen before pursuing a career in financial services which has seen him live in Lebanon, Syria and Abu Dhabi before he returned to Scotland.

Uncertainty was the reason I changed career. In finance you don’t know what will happen the next day.” He said, “With Brexit at our doors we don’t know what will happen and it didn’t feel like a safe industry for the family.”

“We can’t go back to Syria with all that is happening there but this is my home country now, this is my home and I feel comfortable and part of a real community here.

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“We have a lot of friends and family members here and people we know that enjoy Syrian food but didn’t know where to get it in Edinburgh, so that was the main point - make it familiar, authentic and into the city for locals and foreign communities to try and enjoy.”