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      Stornoway News

There’s a new option in Stornoway’s expanding range of fast food outlets, and it brings a taste of the Middle East to South Beach Street from tomorrow (Friday 1 December).

Feast from the East is the third Stornoway business to be started by new islanders from the Syrian community in Lewis, with friends Ahmad and Belal keen to give something back to an island which has made them very welcome.

Ahmad and Belal came to Stornoway as part of the Comhairle and Home Office supported Syrian Resettlement Programme, arriving with other families, Ahmad via Turkey in 2016 and Belal from Jordan in 2018.

According to Ahmad, he has always had the ambition to open a catering business, with his previous jobs including café work at Woodlands and at An Lanntair.

To make it happen, he had bought a catering trailer from Glasgow and had it transported to Stornoway, fixed up and re-branded with signage from Stornoway Media Centre.

Belal has been volunteering as a classroom support worker, demonstrating welding techniques in schools and acting as a bodybuilding coach in the gym at Lewis Sports Centre.

Both men are very well-known in Stornoway and have an enthusiastic following for their new business venture, which has set up opposite the Town Hall and beside the Stornoway Harbour weighbridge.

Preparing their catering trailer for tomorrow’s business, they explained that their catering will bring together cuisine from across the Middle East – from Syria, Lebanon and other countries.

Starting with simple offerings of falafel and hummus in wraps and on trays, served with chips, salad and canned drinks, they later plan to add chicken dishes and more adventurous fare.

Opening hours will be 11am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday and there are limited places to sit outside, if the weather allows.

The duo plan to do all they can to meet demand and offer what people want, partly as a way to repay the kindness shown to them in the islands.

Ahmad said: “We work to make people happy. Stornoway has been very welcoming and we need to return something back.”

And Belal added: “If Stornoway is happy, we’re happy.”

The pictures show the new trailer with its fresh signage and Ahmad and Belal enjoying a quiet moment before opening day.