Words: Shamim de Brún
Images: George Voronov
Dublin’s Rathmines restaurant becomes the target of negative Google reviews after showing solidarity with Palestine.
In a troubling turn of events, Shaku Maku, the family-owned Palestinian restaurant in Rathmines is grappling with a sudden surge of negative Google reviews. The onslaught followed the unveiling of a pro-Palestinian mural on the exterior of their establishment, shedding light on a possible orchestrated attack against the business.
The mural, a creation by Dublin artist Emmalene Blake, features a smiling child adorned with a keffiyeh against the backdrop of the Palestinian flag. It intends to commemorate the lives lost in Gaza during the recent conflict. Shaku Maku took to Instagram to share the mural, expressing gratitude to the Irish community for their ongoing support for Palestine.
However, just hours after the mural’s reveal, the restaurant found itself bombarded with a slew of one-star reviews on Google, amounting to what they claim is a coordinated effort to damage their reputation.
Shaku Maku shared a screen recording of the rapid influx of negative reviews on Instagram, revealing the suspiciously timed attack. In a comment to Char they said, “we had received a number of 1star reviews from accounts clearly based in Israel”. The team commented on Instagram that they had been victims of an orchestrated attack on Google reviews from some people who aren’t very happy about the Palestinian flag on our restaurant.”
Despite this setback, a positive turn of events has unfolded for Shaku Maku. Recent reviews now reflect a more favourable sentiment, pushing the one-star ratings into obscurity. The restaurant has witnessed an outpouring of support from patrons praising the warm service, “exceptional” food, and authentic flavours.
In an official statement to Lovin Dublin, Shaku Maku detailed the circumstances surrounding the negative reviews, emphasizing that the accounts responsible had a pattern of exclusively reviewing places in Israel, indicating a clear bias.
The restaurant, known for maintaining a 4.7 rating on Google reviews since its opening, has always welcomed constructive criticism to enhance the overall experience. Char featured them this year as one of the best spots to hit in Rathmines.
Shaku Maku’s culinary roots trace back to Adnan Shabab’s grandmother, born in Beersheba, south of Gaza. Shabab, a Palestinian residing in Dublin for the past 25 years, opened the restaurant to honour his grandmother’s recipes. Despite adversity, Shaku Maku has stood as a culinary beacon of Palestinian culture in the heart of Dublin.
Last month, the restaurant organized a successful “Plates for Palestine” fundraiser, raising €7,400 for the Irish Red Cross Gaza Emergency Relief fund. Shabab, expressing gratitude for the overwhelming support, stated, “Ireland always shows up for Palestine. Your empathy and compassion make us proud to call Ireland home.” Shaku Maku continues to be a symbol of resilience, both in its culinary offerings and its unwavering commitment to raising awareness about the Palestinian cause.
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