Nandine is a family run business that’s bringing Kurdish food to the masses. Pary, Rang and Raman Baban are revolutionising Middle Eastern food through their mezzes and baklavas.
This family means business, and by business, we mean the whole Baban family being involved in some kind of way. The mum of the family, Pary is the driving force behind Nandine and makes magic in the kitchen creating her own pickles, dips, borek, dolma, salads and burgers on the menu. Manager sons Rang and Raman deals with day to day operations, managing the stores and in charge of communications. Finally, dad Pola chimes in whenever he’s needed for his business and DIY expertise.
But working closely with relatives hasn’t always been smooth sailing. “It’s been equally stressful and rewarding. But, at the end of the day, I know my family would never fail me, it keeps me safe and I can give that back,” Rang explains. “Watching my mum’s career and vision flourish has been amazing. When customers ask for pictures with her or thank her it’s one of my biggest joys and she acts all shy - it’s really cute.”
“Kurdish cuisine differs mostly because people have rarely tried it. It’s not easy to stumble upon an authentic Kurdish place in Europe because of the lack knowledge for what it is,” Rang explains. “Claiming you're Kurdish won’t sell, its as simple as that. But, we're hoping to change that, to put Kurdish food on the map we want to show that it does differ in taste, ingredients and cooking methods.”
“Claiming you're Kurdish won’t sell, its as simple as that. But, we're hoping to change that, to put Kurdish food on the map we want to show that it does differ in taste, ingredients and cooking methods”
Pary learnt the tricks of the trade through her grandfather, aunts and members of her extended family. Unfortunately a lot of things had been lost to time especially when she was on the run from war-ridden Iraq during Saddam Hussein’s reign. Luckily, Para collected recorded recipes in her notebook during that period, which she now explores and develops through Nandine.
And it seems that the only way is up for the Babans, as they’ve just opened another food kiosk at Peckham Levels, a brand new food, drink and arts hub in an old multi-storey car park in south London. Adding another location to their existing cafe and restaurant in Camberwell and Elephant & Castle. So come embrace the warm Kurdish hospitality and celebrate this hidden treasure together with Nandine who’re promoting Kurdish food and identity with one magical mezze at a time.
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