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This socially-conscious dining space puts Afghan culture and people in focus

Introducing Kabul Social, a new Afghan restaurant in Sydney’s CBD, whose concept and design tell the story of a meeting of cultures and a desire to make meaningful social change.

This socially-conscious dining space puts Afghan culture and people in focus

Photography: Daniel Shipp

Opening its doors in August 2022, Kabul Social is an Afghan casual dining and take-out spot that is more than a food destination, it is a social movement. This new establishment is based on a “giving squared” model that donates two meals for every meal that is purchased—one to local Afghan communities in Australia and the other to a vulnerable family in need in Afghanistan through the Sydney and Afghanistan-based charity Mahboba’s Promise. An all-female team of Afghan refugees who have fled the Taliban is given training and employment in the Afghan eatery.

Construction management firm, Building Guild collaborated with the dynamic social activist group Plate It Forward to construct their newest Sydney location within a tenancy that was kindly offered by Mirvac. Shaun Christie-David founded Plate It Forward, which now includes Kabul Social as its second community-focused restaurant in addition to Colombo Social in Enmore.

Keeping with the giving ethos, Building Guild donated the whole fit-out for Kabul Social as a way to contribute directly to the project using their skills and knowledge, and generate value over time. “Using our skill, knowledge and experience, as construction managers to build something that is going to benefit the community—is ultimately a lot more rewarding than only contributing financially,” says Building Guild’s Managing Director Alex Johnson.

The venue’s fit-out conveys Kabul Social’s hopeful and uplifting message through its design, with the aim to provide a platform for Afghan food, culture and people to shine. The blue-hued exterior, which pays homage to the symbolic blue colour synonymous with the city of Kabul, is contrasted with hints of gold carried out through joinery finishes. Distressed brick-and-plaster walls, mosaic tables, and rich embroidery banquette upholstery adorn the interior, incorporating traditional Afghan design features while giving them a modern, western feel.

The casual diner’s warm, welcoming fit-out is completed with digital display units and the food ordering app Mr Yum. This infusion of technology serves more than a functional purpose, it is also the venue’s main means of displaying the live tracking of the quantity of meals customers have provided for those who need them.

Building Guild are involved with several projects for Plate It Forward, including currently refurbishing their flagship venue Colombo Social, and the fit-out of Plate It Forward’s Harbourside Restaurant and Function Space. This close working relationship is built on a shared vision to re-invent the definition of equal opportunity “around the table” by providing food, education and employment to refugees in extreme need.  “Building social impact restaurants and venues is of great importance to Building Guild—one that gives the company a sense of great achievement and a strong sense of satisfaction,” explains Alex.

Founded in 2009, Building Guild specialises in delivering high quality interior fit-out and refurbishment projects, working closely with clients to bring their vision to life. By respecting the culture in focus, and providing refugees with much needed opportunities, the construction management firm’s partnership with Plate It Forward highlights how thoughtful design can contribute to meaningful social change.

Building Guild


Photography: Daniel Shipp

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