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'We must remember the less privileged': Dagenham restaurant offering the needy free Christmas Day dinner

PUBLISHED: 12:00 23 December 2019 | UPDATED: 12:46 23 December 2019

L-R: Cousins Minhaj Uddin and Ahmed Ansari outside Big Bites in Broad Street, Dagenham. Picture: Jon King

L-R: Cousins Minhaj Uddin and Ahmed Ansari outside Big Bites in Broad Street, Dagenham. Picture: Jon King

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A family owned restaurant is offering a free dinner to bring festive cheer to the elderly, homeless and less well off this Christmas.

L-R: Chef, Minhaj Uddin and Ahmed Ansari, who looks after the front of house. Picture: Jon KingL-R: Chef, Minhaj Uddin and Ahmed Ansari, who looks after the front of house. Picture: Jon King

Cousins, Salim Chowdhury, Minhaj Uddin and Ahmed Ansari will be serving up a yuletide feast of soup, turkey, sprouts, potatoes, carrots and peas from Big Bites Café and Restaurant in Broad Street, Dagenham, on Christmas Day.

Salim, who spent two weeks sleeping rough back in 2004, said: "This is a way of giving back to the community as well as making sure the vulnerable are catered for.

"Most of us know Christmas as a time of joy and celebration, however, we must also remember the less privileged as well as remembering that at a time when there is a rise in food banks and people not being able to provide for themselves or family, Christmas may be a time of sadness."

Chef, Minhaj, 35, said: "We see a lot of homeless people around here. They have nothing to eat and sometimes they beg. We realised it would be nice to do something to make them happy.

"It's important to help people and show our humility. We have a lot of sympathy for people like this."

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The cousins, who originally hail from Bangladesh, are offering a lunch worth £7 to all-comers, but especially the homeless, from 1.30pm to 3.30pm at their eatery which has space for 50 diners and opened on December 1.

"We'll cater for as many people as we get," Minhaj said.

Ahmed, 28, added: "I'm very happy to do this, particularly helping poorer people and the homeless."

Minhaj, who worked his way up from dishwasher to chef at Tower Bridge's restaurant before starting the business, said that even though the cousins are Muslim, Christmas is a time for everyone to do something charitable.

Since opening, online business has been booming while the cousins make a name for themselves. Their most popular offerings include a big or extra large breakfast and chicken curry.

And the cousins aim to carry on supporting the community into the New Year by offering free meals to the needy at least once every month.

Call 07949089920 or 07788981913 to book.

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