Posted on 18 October 2019
Guildford College ESOL students Shahed Ekbatani, his sister Shadi, wife Mina and brother Sharam opened Sis & Bros coffee shop in early October
It's a family affair at the Sis and Bros coffee shop, Guildford’s first Persian eatery.
Iranian Shahed Ekbatani was inspired to open the café in the White Lion Walk Shopping Centre after sharing his sister’s Shadi’s delicious homemade food with classmates at Activate Learning’s Guildford College.
Encouraged by the positive response from fellow ESOL (English as a second language) students and his teacher Joanne Turner, Shahed and Shadi launched their business with the help of Shahed’s wife Mina and his brother Shahram.
The Sis and Bros coffee shop opened in early October and serves hot drinks like saffron tea and healthy homecooked food, freshly prepared by Shadi every morning. The menu varies from day to day, but specialities include Tah-Chin, a Persian dish of layered saffron rice and cooked chicken breast bound together by yogurt and egg, koofteh made from rice, minced beef and lamb, soya and dill, and vegetarian options like Aash-reshteh, a delicious thick soup made from Persian noodles, chickpeas, kidney beans and lots of fresh herbs.
Shahed says: “My sister Shadi and my wife Mina are also ESOL students at Guildford College and they got good feedback from their classmates and teachers about our food too. It encouraged us to take a risk and open a café. After a long search to find a shop, and with my brother’s help, we have started our new business. It is a family-run, independent coffee shop and we serve a selection of food from our home country. It is the first café that serves Persian cuisine in Guildford, and we are very proud of that.”
Guildford College ESOL tutor Joanne Turner added. “At Activate Learning, we go beyond each academic subject and teach the attributes that students will need to succeed in the workplace.
‘Enterprising’ is one of those attributes, and we are delighted to see Shadi, Shahed and Mina put what they have learnt into practice to launch a unique and exciting business.”