Vancouver’s restaurant scene is set to expand its cultural mix with the opening of Aleph Middle Eastern Eatery, a beautifully designed eatery nestled in the heart of East Vancouver’s newly revamped Port Town community opening in December.
Juxtaposed between old world recipes and exciting new flavours, Aleph’s menu melds both together – bringing a refreshing sense of tradition and innovation to its 1889 Powell Street address. With a comfortable modern atmosphere that pays homage to regional heritage, Aleph will make new friends feel old and old friends feel welcome.
As a rich culinary and ethnic oasis, Aleph will be a place where communities come together to break bread, offering guests a relaxed atmosphere where every dish has a story – often a very personal one. The name itself draws from the first letter of a multitude of Middle Eastern languages such as Arabic, Hebrew, Phoenician, Persian and Urdu (to name a few). In that sense, Aleph is a true point of intersection: serving a diverse community as a unique gathering place, restaurant, bakery, café and bar.
Aleph Middle Eastern Eatery draws both its identity and innovation from the traditional culinary staples of this beautiful and contentious region of the world. Aleph offers an eating experience that transcends the Middle East’s national borders with a menu that employs the use of the freshest ingredients from local markets and regional suppliers, adjusting its menu to BC’s ever-changing seasons and utilizing the regions traditional use of robust and aromatic spices, fresh produce, characteristic abundance of olive oil and lemon to create something truly unique. Drawing inspiration from the Levant’s “mezze style shared eating traditions, Aleph’s menu will showcase staples in Middle Eastern cuisine, with items like whipped creamy hummus, baba ghanouj, Shakshuka and Manaeesh flatbreads prepared a la minute on a traditional Saj oven imported from Lebanon. With a skilful hand, Aleph will lace the brightest flavours of the Middle Eastern palate to create ubiquitous staples to both liven and tantalize the palates and appetites of guests. Aleph brings something forever new, intentional, and delicious to Vancouver’s discerning diners.
Aleph is owned and operated by husband-wife team, Haitham El Khatib and Fiona Hepher. The young entrepreneurs share a combined background in gastronomy, risk management, health and wellness and advertising. Upon meeting in Dubai in 2014, they moved back to Fiona’s hometown of Vancouver where Haitham attended Northwest Culinary Academy. Haitham, of Palestinian and Lebanese descent, lived and worked throughout the Middle East prior to his arrival in Vancouver. Upon landing on Canadian soil he was faced with the harsh realities of immigrating to a new land and felt a strong sense of displacement, eventually finding connection through volunteering to help refugees. It was during this time that the concept for Aleph was born.
“As soon as I moved here, all these questions of identity started coming up. I started asking myself where home really was and what it meant to me. I realized that for me, home is a place that never really existed but combined influence from Palestine, Lebanon, Dubai and Iran. This is when I realized how similar the food was and still is in most of these countries, and so I decided to create a place out of their similarities rather than focusing on their differences… something I hope Vancouver will embrace too”– Haitham El Khatib, Owner at Aleph Middle Eastern Eatery
Aleph strives to create unity through simple, honest and flavourful food by inviting the surrounding community to break bread in a cozy yet intentionally curated space.
“The premise behind our food is that it is unedited and there is not a lot of cooking involved in the process of creating our dishes. If you look at Middle Eastern cuisine, you may notice there are many elements with quite loud flavours. We’re trying to do something slightly different at Aleph by combining these flavours in a new way to embrace authenticity while allowing room for creativity.” – Haitham El Khatib, Owner at Aleph Eatery.
When: Aleph is set to open the doors to its bright, airy and inspiring space in mid December 2017.
Where: 1889 Powell Street (within the historic Hamilton Bank Building), Aleph features seating for 22 and is nestled along a bustling corridor of popular local businesses (industrial shops, factories, craft breweries, coffee roasters, warehouses, restaurants, offices and private homes).