Conflict Café

Things to do, Food and drink events House of Vans , Waterloo Thursday September 21 2017 - Saturday September 23 2017
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Conflict Café
Phil Kirk

Feast on Syrian cuisine by London chefs from Ayam Zaman at this pop-up in House of Vans, Waterloo on Peace Day. Join communal tables, break bread with strangers, learn more about Syrian culture and loosen your belt for a nine-course sharing meal. Booking essential


Venue name: House of Vans
Address: Arches 228-232
Station Approach Rd
Opening hours: 4-10pm Thu-Fri; 10am-8pm Sat; noon-6pm Sun
Transport: Tube: Waterloo/Lambeth North
Price: £40
Event website:
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“Once you eat with someone, you can’t betray them.” – Arab saying

The ‘Most Inspirational Pop-up of 2014’ has been back in London for a month long celebration of the UN International Day of Peace that fell on Monday 21st September. The Talking Peace Festival 2015 organised by International Alert is designed to engage people in the most urgent issues of peace and conflict around the world and they have not disappointed this year.

A friend and I got tickets for a Conflict Café: Columbia on Friday night and it exceeded all of our expectations- definitely worth the £35 which all goes to the charity. To start, the venue for the evening was outstanding, held in one of the Waterloo tunnels of House of Vans, the longest banquet table I have ever seen was set up and there was a bum on every seat. Each section of the table had menus and a Columbian trivia quiz that instantly had us chin-wagging with our neighbours (the rum punch didn’t hurt either!) After some introductory speeches from the Columbian star speaker and the chef, Esnayder Cuartas (Sabor), we were straight onto the starters…a platter of empanadas, chorizo and scallops (fried in passion fruit butter with mango salsa, jalapeno- basil pesto and served on Andean corn-bread…mmm mm) For mains, we were served generous portions of Cazuela del Pacifico, a classic stew of red snapper, sword fish, prawns, mussels, tomatoes and coconut milk, seasoned with chilli and coriander. I’ve had many disappointments in the past when it comes to fish and seafood being rubbery or over salted, so having all the seafood impeccably cooked in a stew together was very impressive and it really was the highlight of the meal.

The speakers were thought-provoking, the other diners were sociable and it really was a brilliantly organised and executed evening! With three dates left, 30th September, 1st and 3rd October for Armenia and Turkey, I strongly recommend you get tickets before it’s too late! I will definitely be attending if they return next year, a five-star pop-up!