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Lockdown-born ‘soul food’ venture opens maiden site in London

Bando Belly

An independent food business born from Covid-19 has launched in London.

Bando Belly is a brand new eatery opening in South London that will pioneer ‘soul food fusion’ with its signature cuisine influenced by flavours from America, the Caribbean, South East Asia and most importantly – multicultural London.

The first site opened its doors on Friday at Peckham Levels (Level 5), a cultural and social hub that serves a range of other local and independent businesses.

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Its unique menu features complex flavours from around the globe with elements from traditional cuisines.

Founded by London-based young foodpreneurs Naz Ramadan and Alex Situnayake, Bando Belly has embraced the capital’s multiculturalism to create London’s very own soul food with a unique twist.

Using the space in Peckham Levels, Bando Belly also plans to host community-led music and creative events to be the go-to spot for all-round great vibes.

Both the founders have roots in South London and shared a passion for inventing their own dishes inspired by their favourite flavours from across the city and other countries.

They believed that every region or country has its own soul food but found it strange that one of the most multicultural cities in the world didn’t have one, so together they set out to create London’s very own soul food.

The pair met in 2016 at Kitchen 54 – an American-style café and restaurant on Queen’s Road, Peckham ran by Mr Ramadan and his mother, but it wasn’t until late 2020 that they reunited to put their stamp on London’s vibrant food and drink scene.

Mr Ramadan, who is head chef of the venture, said: “London is the world’s biggest melting pot and living in the capital means that fusion is everywhere – from the food, to the music, to the people. How many places in the world would an English, Turkish and Indian man all know the appropriate response to wagwan?!

“At Bando Belly, we are taking that exact energy and putting it on a plate with a menu that highlights a diverse selection of flavours from all around the globe to reimagine London’s soul food.”

Co-founder and creative director, Alex Situnayake, said: “We wanted to create a bold and culturally relevant brand to disrupt the traditionally Euro-centric and often whitewashed London food scene. Bando Belly is a nod to everything that inspires us about London – including all the nitty gritty parts!

“We don’t sell natural wine and pizza – we make food that we’ve grown up with and dishes we’ve enjoyed on our journey to where we are now. We wanted Bando Belly to represent us as founders as much as it represents the food that we create which is why our personal tastes in music and fashion are so important to the overall brand aesthetic.”

Peckham Levels is currently closed to members of the public due to the lockdown, but Londoners can still from Bando Belly’s menu through Deliveroo and pickup orders via Deliveroo and Instagram.

IMAGE: Twitter @bandobelly

Tags : Bando BellyLondonRestaurants
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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