Jeddah Blog

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Archive for the tag “food”

Tea and Falafel


If there’s anyone in this city who has their finger on the collective Jeddawi pulse, it’s Jeddah Blog’s Abdullah Yahya. Whether it’s honest advice on the best coffee shops  or the latest restaurant openings and dining options this is the one person you want among your handy Whatsapp contacts.

For this blog post, Abdullah has been on the hunt for a speciality breakfast hangout and he chanced upon the charmingly named Tea & Falafel on Madina Road. Scroll down to read Abdullah’s review, see what he ordered and find out how much he awarded the outlet in the all-important Jeddah Blog rating.

Breakfast is not only the most important meal of the day, but many agree that it is indeed their favorite meal of the day. As Jeddawis, in the past we only had limited options for breakfast places, but this has been changing quickly in recent years.

If social media is any indication, breakfast joints are all the rage, and of all the times we eat out, the longest we wait for an empty table is usually when we go out for breakfast.

Rustic and homely at the same time

One of the latest places to open in Jeddah is Tea & Falafel which is located on Madinah Branch Road (address: 6614 Abi Haitham Al Ansari, Al Muhammadiyah District, Al Muhammadiyah District,, Jeddah 23624). Although it is still in its soft opening phase, it is very popular already.

The tastefully decorated single’s section

It has a single section downstairs and a family section upstairs. It’s not a large restaurant and there are less than 10 tables in the family section, and maybe as many in the singles section. It is nicely decorated and brightly coloured with upbeat quotes. My favourite is their take on BFF as “Best Falafel Forever”

The spice bar

Part tea shop, part restaurant, it serves Arabic food with an emphasis on falafel. You can indulge in all of your falafel fantasies here with creations such as falafel nachos, falafel waffles, manakeesh with falafel, etc.

We loved the bright sunlight pouring in.

Since it was our first time, we played it safe and ordered an Arabic breakfast plate (40SR) which came with samplers of Arabic traditional biggest hits (hummus, falafel, foul,  manakeesh, hummus, foul, labneh, tahini, makdous, jam, potato wedges, pickles, and pita bread). It comes with a pot of English breakfast tea but we replaced that with Karak tea.

I also ordered fresh orange juice (SR14 ), falafel stuffed with nuts (serving of two pieces, SR6), and zaatar mankeesh (SR8)

Everything we tried was good, but the falafel, we thought, were exceptional. They were not too greasy and they tasted pretty good especially the falafel stuffed with nuts. I also liked the Karak tea.

Next time inshaAllah we will be trying other items on the menu, and you can bet there will be a next time, because not only did we like the food, but the service was good, the ambience was cool, and the prices were excellent. We ended up paying SR68 for 2 persons. Great value for money.

Jeddah Blog rating:

Ambience 8/10

Service 8/10

Food 9/10

Value 9/10

Overall rating 8.5/10

-photo credits: Abdullah Yahya

Kidzmamia: Entrepreneurship for Children


Kidzmamia was an event held last month by Elite Club Jeddah at Salt n Pepper Restaurant in an effort to foster entrepreneurial skills amongst children. The idea was for the kids to book stalls which were then set up and managed by the children themselves. A total of nineteen stalls were booked within two days. The children made banners and set up the food, drinks and games.

The purpose of the event was to boost self-confidence in the children, enhance their creativity, develop their skills of communication and social dealing, and create a sense of optimism, hard-work, and competitiveness. Their happy faces and heavy pockets at the end of the evening was an indication that they had indeed gained a great deal from the activity.

A charity box was also set up to encourage the children to think about those less fortunate than themselves.

If you were at the event, see if you can spot yourself in the slideshow below. Did you enjoy yourself? Leave a comment and let us know!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

by Saniya Owais

Click here for more information on Elite Club Jeddah.

Naan Restaurant: A Review


Eating out is one of the most-favoured hobbies of Jeddawis and thankfully, we’ve always been spoilt for choice. The wonderful diversity among the residents of Jeddah is expressed in its food culture too.

It is quite common to see new restaurants and cafés opening up all the time, and Jeddah Blog’s very own foodie Abdullah Yahya never misses a chance to try out the latest offering. In his latest review exclusively for Jeddah Blog, Abdullah tries out Naan Restaurant, located behind Souk Shatee.

One of my new favourite restaurants in Jeddah is the elegant Naan in Al-Zahra district. It is roomy and it’s chic, with great service and even better food. The one downside is that they have a ‘no children under 5’ policy but to be fair, I have taken my toddler along twice and they let us in with a polite warning that if she starts crying I should take her to a room to calm her down, and luckily my girl behaved both times.

So why do I like it so much? The reason is quite simply that its menu is very extensive and can meet all tastes. Although their food is not hugely different from what you’d find in many other Indians restaurants, it just tastes better. Proof of that is that I thoroughly enjoyed the Chicken Biryani even though I am not much of a rice person.

naan08First up, appetizers. We opted for the vegetable samosa which was quite good. The serving consisted of four pieces accompanied by a tangy tamarind dip, but I say skip the dip for the samosa itself is very crispy from the outside and juicy and colourful on the inside.

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Crispy and moreish samosas.

 

The Murg Tikka comes in this showy presentation hanging vertically on skewers. But it’s not all show, it actually tastes amazing. Very juicy and flavourful – it tingles your tastebuds and leaves you wanting more!

naan03

The juicy Murg Tikka packed with flavour.

As for the curries, I have tried several during my visits. The one I tried last was the Bombay Beef Curry, which I liked quite a bit. My only gripe was that the quantity of beef in the dish wasn’t as generous as the amount of gravy.

naan05

For dessert, we are predictable and play safe as we always opt for the Gulab Jamun. This never fails and is consistently good, albeit the serving is too tiny for its price.

Naan Restaurant

Gulab Jamun, always a safe bet.

When it comes to refreshments, I’ve tried their Mango Lassi before which is decent. This time I opted for their Gagajeer mocktail, which has among other things a weird mix of ginger, arugula, avocado, and honey. I was happy to give it a go, but it’s too weird even for me.

naan07

Are you adventurous enough for the Gagajeer Mocktail?

Price-wise, Naan is not the cheapest of Indian restaurants (not the priciest either), but it’s classy, clean, and serves great food. It definitely should be on your radar if you value some spice in your food.

Jeddah Blog rating

Ambience: 9/10

Food: 9/10

Service: 8/10

Value: 8/10

Cost per head: SR120-150

Experience a Turkish Bazaar!


Amazing opportunity to soak up some Turkish culture and food this Friday, 9th December 2016.

 

turkish-festival

Fire at Red Chillies


If you’re looking for a truly authentic burn-the-roof-of-your-mouth-off Pakistani Chicken Tikka then I have the perfect place for you. More on that tikka later, but first I’ve got to mention one caveat, which is that the seating is very basic. If you’re a real food lover, but not looking particularly for a fine dining experience, then you’ll be in for a treat.

And if you’re Pakistani, you just might forget where you are for a little while. Close your eyes and imagine that you’re in a typical restaurant in Lahore. Quite a delicious escape!

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Red Chillies in Aziziya

Read more…

Skill on the Grill – Review


Skill on the Grill is a newly opened restaurant on the intersection of Prince Sultan Street and Sari Street in the fancy new mall that brings us lots of delectable eateries. Jeddah Blog writer Samreen Ahmed set out on a mission to sample the new outfit and gave us her verdict.

Read more…

Ramadan Recipe – Crispy Chicken


We wish Ramadan Kareem to all of our readers!

Ramadan is a blessed and holy month, a time of worship, contemplation, self-reflection and of submission. However, it is also a month of sharing and caring, community and festivity.

In addition to focusing on our fasts and our prayers, at the end of the day we look forward to breaking our fast. Jeddah Blog will be bringing you some exciting new recipes, and our first contribution is from Asma and Aisha, two sisters with a passion for food, who blog at Jet Set Eat. Their unique Crispy Chicken recipe uses traditional Ramadan ingredients of samosa leaves and kunafa dough, but in a very different way.

Do try the recipe and let us know how it turns out.

Crispy Chicken

Crispy Chicken Recipe for Jeddah Blog

Crispy Chicken

Ingredients

500g boneless chicken, cut into 2 inch long strips.

2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

2 tbsp garlic paste

2 eggs

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp tandoori masala powder

Chilli flakes (optional)

1 tbsp white pepper powder

1 pinch red edible food colour

Salt to taste

3 tbsp refined flour

2 tbsp cornflour

Thinly sliced samosa leaves or kunafah dough (hair)

Oil to deep fry

 

Directions

1. Marinate the chicken in sweet chilli sauce, garlic paste, eggs, soy sauce, tandoori masala, chilli flakes, white pepper, red colour and salt for 2 hours.

2. Mix refined flour and cornflour in the chicken marinade and leave for 15 mins.

3. Spread the samosa leaves or kunafa dough (hair) on a plate and roll the marinated chicken in it. Press well with hands so it sticks to the chicken.

4. Heat sufficient oil in a wok and deep fry the chicken until crisp and cooked from inside. Serve with your favourite sauce.

You can follow Jet Set Eat on Instagram: @jet.set.eat

Ramadan Volunteering Food Distribution Program


volunteering in Ramadan

 Seeking to do good works this Ramadan?
 Wish to give back to the community?
 Looking to volunteer your time for a worthy cause?
 Are you a teen seeking to get involved in social programs? 
 Need community hours for High School graduation and University admissions?

Look no more!

Get Involved with Jeddah’s Premier Volunteering Program for Social Work. The International Community in Jeddah is currently recruiting teens to volunteer for food their Ramadan Food Distribution Program.

Who can participate?

 Adult
 Teens
 Minimum Age 13 years
 Males and females

Days and Times
 1st Ramadan to 30th Ramadan
 4:30 – 6:30 pm daily

Meeting Point
‣ Volunteers will be notified once they have registered.

Distribution Districts
‣ Volunteers will be dispatched in groups under the supervision of a team leader. There will be eight locations as follows: South of Jeddah, Ruwais, Ghulail, Karantina, Gurayat and Balad.

 Certificates to all International Community in Jeddah volunteers stating volunteering hours can be arranged upon request.

Contact Person
 Ally Durvesh: 0599998894

hellofood offers 24-hours premium access to icflix with every meal order


We at Jeddah Blog have used hellofood, the online food delivery service many times, and have never been disappointed. They are prompt, reliable, efficient, and even follow up online orders with a phone call confirming the order and an email afterwards inquiring about the level of service provided. Adding to all this, their service charge is very reasonable. If you haven’t tried them already, I recommend you do so very soon. When you do, leave a comment at the end of this blog post telling us about your experience.

Enjoying a delicious meal in front of a movie is something we all like, therefore the promotional offer that is currently available between Hellofood and icflix might interest the cinema lovers. 

In fact the Middle East and North Africa’s leading Internet streaming service, providing its viewers with access to Hollywood, Bollywood and Jazwood (Arabic) content has lately announced a strategic partnership with hellofood.

hellofood and icflix

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Active in over 40 countries over 5 continents, hellofood have selected the best restaurants in Saudi Arabia, granting customers ordering food online, free unlimited 24-hour access to movies, TV series, documentaries and kids content on icflix.

“The premium access to icflix will give hellofood customers a chance to enjoy and experience the service,” said Carlos Tibi, CEO, icflix. “We want customers to enjoy the entertainment from the comfort of their own home.”

“hellofood represents a complement to icflix’s internet streaming service  and vice versa, enabling users to order food online from more than 500 restaurants and choose from a variety of movies and TV shows at the same time. All customers will benefit from the synergy of this partnership”, said Beschir Hussain, CEO  of Hellofood Middle East.

About ICFLIX

ICFLIX media FZ LLC was established in Dubai in 2012. The company provides its members with convenient access to . It is the first subscription-based online streaming service of its kind and offers movies, TV series, cartoons, and documentaries. The service is currently available on over 900 different mobile and fixed Internet enabled devices including PCs, Macs, smart phones, tablets, smart TVs and gaming consoles. Aside from its UAE headquarters, ICFLIX has offices in Morocco, Egypt and Czech Republic.

You can follow icflix via Twitter and Facebook.

About hellofood

hellofood is the leading global online food delivery marketplace and is active in more than 40 countries across five continents. For restaurants, hellofood promotes their visibility in a mobile and digital world, and provides up-to-date interfaces as technology evolves. For diners, hellofood provides the convenience of ordering food online and offers the widest culinary range to choose their favorite meal from, which can be done via the web or through the app. In the Middle East, hellofood is present in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon and Qatar. The group recently acquired UAE-based 24h and has raised more than 200 million USD to date.

– Sponsored article

Little Big Memories With Anchor


Anchor Little Big MomentsChildhood is the best stage of our lives and the more you grow the more you miss all these memories of your childhood. All parents want to save a trace of the best moments and the good times they have spent with their kids, to be part of their lives for a long time, Anchor comes today to allow you to celebrate the little big moments of your children by offering you, a new application on Facebook.

Anchor is a brand that was created in 1886 and owned by the New Zealand based international exporter Fonterra Co−operative Group, Fonterra is one of the largest producers and distributors of dairy and food around the world, Anchor offers a range of powdered milks, ready-to-drink milks, yoghurts, cheeses and butter in countries across Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Anchor takes care and improves the quality of its milk, it’s a source of naturally occurring dairy nutrients such as proteins, iron and minerals such as calcium to help build strong bones and teeth, plus vitamins such as B vitamins which are essential for growth and development of your child.

With the new Facebook application that Anchor offers, it will allow you to turn all the most beautiful moments of your child into an amazing and unique video, creating a fantastic little masterpiece that makes you feel happy and proud of your kids. Also, it allows you to save those sweet moments for a long time and share it with your kids once they grow up. If you have some beautiful photos of your child in your phone or on your computer and want to share them with your friends, Anchor App will help you to make a wonderful video.

Anchor Logo

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Little Big Moments app of Anchor is more easier, more secure, more organized, and more fun way to create sweet moments that our children will always remember, all you have to do is to connect to Facebook and launch the Application, choose all the interesting photos, milestones and great moments of your child and upload them via the application. Once finished, you can add a small comment and share it with your beloved and your family with the following hashtag : #LittleBigMoments.

So dear parents, every child is entitled to a beautiful childhood, and every little big moment needs to be remembered, so let’s imagine those moments and create a memory!

Click on this link to use the Application.

– Sponsored article

Karimah’s Fig Frangipane Tart


KARIMAH NUTRI CARD texcorrectSweet, succulent figs, I find, are an absolute delight. When they are in season in Jeddah, I can’t get enough of them. I love their simplicity – no peeling, nor preparing. Just a quick wash, and then enjoy the freshness and richness of flavour packed with nutritional goodness which is totally unlike any other fruit.

On the way back from my local store, having indulged in figs galore, I emailed Karimah bint Dawoud, clinical nutritionist and guest blogger at JB, and author of Heavenly Bites, the Best of Muslim Home Cooking, asking if she would share a recipe from her new book, Happy Healthy Halal. Kind soul that she is, she promptly sent me the most delicious Fig Frangipane Tart recipe, exclusively to share with Jeddah Blog readers.

Find out more about Karimah, best-selling author, photographer, former model and makeup artist who converted to Islam eleven years ago on her website. She is a sought-after nutrition coach and is working on her new book, Happy Healthy Halal.

At-Teen in Arabic means “fig”. The fig is symbolic of the lands that it grows in, mainly Turkey, Palestine and Syria. We often think of figs as part of various sweets and biscuits, but these interesting fruits also have amazing medical properties.

  • They help lower high blood pressure
  • They a sweet way to lose weight; nibble on a dried fig with a cup of tea rather than biscuits.
  • They are a fast food; carry dry figs around when you are out and about and on the go outside the home.
  • They contain fibre that protects against postmenopausal breast cancer
  • They promote bone density
  • They protect against macular/eye degeneration

This recipe is part of my new book Happy Healthy Halal that features foods of the Holy Quran, and their contemporary uses. The fig is such a special fruit that it has its own chapter in the Quran called Surat At-Teen, chapter 95.

fig frangipane raw

Delicious fresh figs – Photo by Karimah bint Dawoud

Almond is a flavour that perfectly complements figs, and ground almond flour is used in the baking of many praline patisseries. Now frangipani is a sponge mix using ground almonds or pistachio nuts as well as flour, to form the sponge mix which is used as a tart filling. Frangipane or franchipane is said to have originated from France. Frangipani compliments fresh figs beautifully, and with the clever, skillful use of eastern spices we can elevate this exquisite French celebratory patisserie to a heavenly helwiyat (dessert).

Desserts are generally not healthy, however in nutrition circles there is a 80/20 rule that allows 20% of naughtiness and this dessert is certainly cheeky. As a nutritionist, I advise home baking rather than shop bought cakes as it is less convenient to make cake. You can’t just go to the cupboard whenever you feel like it and eat. You are sure of the ingredients when you bake at home, and you can always gather friends and family to sample your delicious delights.

Try the Fig Frangipane Tart recipe below and leave a comment to tell me how it turned out.

fig frangipane

Mouthwatering Fig Frangipane Tart – Photo by Karimah bint Dawoud

Fig Frangipane Tart

Preparation time 45 minutes

Serves 8

Ingredients

For The Pastry Crust

  • 375g/13¼oz/1.5 cups unbleached all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 15g/½oz sugar
  • 125g/8oz /1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 5 tbsp ice-cold water
  • 1 tsp of mixed spice

For The Frangipane Filling

  • 200g/7¼oz unsalted butter
  • 200g/7¼oz  sugar
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 200g/7¼oz ground almonds
  • 45ml/3 tablespoons of flour
  • 1 tsp of powdered ginger
  • 1 tsp of turmeric
  • 1 tsp powdered cinnamon

For The Tart Filling

  • 4-7 ripe black figs, washed and cut in half

Preparation Of Sweet Short Crust Pastry

  1. For the pastry, sieve the flour and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Add spices. Cube the butter and add to the flour spice mix. Rub the butter and the flour between your thumb and fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. If you have hot hands use 2 knives to cross chop butter and flour mix.
  1. In a jug or small bowl, beat the egg together with 4-5 tablespoons of ice-cold water. Pour into the flour mixture.
  2. Slowly bring the ingredients together with your hands or metal utensils to form a dough, do not overwork it, short crust should be made quick and kept cool or it becomes elastic.
  3. Knead the dough lightly on a clean, floured work surface, then wrap it in cling film and put in the fridge at least 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Dust the work surface with flour and roll out the chilled pastry to about ½ cm/1/4 inch. Use it to line one large 25cm/10in tart ring. Trim away any excess. Don’t worry if your pastry is falling apart. This happens sometimes with short crust. Short crust pastry can be a bit crumbly and you may need to patchwork your pastry into the greased backing tin, pressing in evenly, then trim off excess around the edges. Don’t worry, it will be super when it comes out of the oven, insha’allah.
  5. You are going to have to do blind baking, which means make the tart without filling and bake first before adding the filling. This is to stop the base of the tart rising or going soggy and not cooking properly, in this case when a wet filling is used.
  6. Line the inside of the tart case with a circle of greaseproof paper and put some dried beans on top like kidney beans to weigh the paper down. Place in the oven at 180C/350F/Gas 4 for 15 minutes.
  7. Take out and cool for 10 minutes.
fig frangipane blind baking

Blind baking the tart base – Photo by Karimah bint Dawoud

The Frangipane Almond Tart Filling

  1. For the frangipane, beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and creamy. Crack the eggs into the bowl one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the ground almonds, flour and spices and mix well until combined. This is in effect a sponge mixture.
  2. Spoon the frangipane into the tart case so that it comes about halfway up the sides. Smooth over the surface with a spatula. Place the halved figs, seed side up evenly on top of the frangipane and press down lightly. The almond filling will lightly rise around it.
  3. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the sponge is golden-brown, a skewer or tip of a knife is placed inside sponge and comes out clean and the fruit is tender.
  4. When the tart has cooled to warm temperature, add a glaze of apricot or similar smooth jam using an icing spatula or blunt knife to smooth it over the surface of the tart.
fig frangipane glaze

Fig Frangipane Glaze – Photo by Karimah bint Dawoud

Enjoy alone or serve warm with healthy crème fraîche.

fig frangipane slice

A slice of heavenly Fig Frangipane Tart – Photo by Karimah bint Dawoud


 

Read up on Karimah’s previous blog posts at Jeddah Blog:

Karimah’s Guide to a Healthier Ramadan

and

Jewels of the Desert, Saviours of Ramadan

 

Meena (Market) Bazaar


An upcoming opportunity for fun and shopping, and for home businesses to book their stalls and sell their wares.

Meena Bazaar

Experience Chocolate Magic at Le Concheur


Le Concheur has slowly and steadily been making its presence felt in Jeddah. Although they are still at their soft opening stage, constantly adapting and refining their menu to customer feedback, they are already gaining a base of loyal customers in the city.

A few days ago, my children received a very special invitation from the Kids’ Party Consultant at Le Concheur, Kathy Bacchus. To their absolute delight, they were asked if they would like to attend an exclusive chocolate cup making activity with a group of other children. And if you know the JB family, when it comes to sampling dessert, you don’t need to ask us twice… Needless to say, my children were more than crazily-excited and confirmed their attendance on the spot.

Le Concheur - Front

The impressive shop front of Le Concheur.

We arrived enthusiastically half an hour early, were warmly welcomed by the staff, and ordered a berry crepe while waiting for the event to begin. The crepe was a hit with the kids; they commented on the freshness of the fruits in the crepe and proceeded to wipe the plate clean.

Le Concheur event

Children excited and ready to get started.

Once the activity began upstairs, all of the children were given aprons and chef hats. Despite having a larger attendance than expected, the activity was well-organised and ran quite smoothly.

Le Concheur, Kathy chocolate machine

Kathy explaining how the chocolate machine works.

Kathy and her helpful assistant Franko explained the importance of using tempered chocolate to ensure the chocolate cups stay intact.

Now hold your breath for the next picture…

Le Concheur pouring chocolate

Pouring tempered chocolate.

They showed us the machine used to temper the chocolate by keeping it at a very precise temperature. The flow of chocolate is controlled by a foot pedal, and filled trays are placed for a few seconds on a vibrating stand to pop any air bubbles.

Le Concheur chocolate machine

Kids’ Lab Manager, Kathy, operating the chocolate machine.

Kathy demonstrated to the children how to operate the machine. It’s not as easy as it looks!

Le Concheur, chocolate in mould

Chocolate cups setting in the moulds.

It was very hard to resist, but the chocolate cups had to be left alone for a while to set in their moulds, after which Franko gave a helping hand to the kids in turning out the moulds.

Le Concheur, Franko

Franko turning out the chocolate moulds.

Once the chocolate saucers and cups were set, the children carefully piped chocolate mousse into the little cups. They all did a great job.

Piping the chocolate mousse into the prepared chocolate cups.

Piping the chocolate mousse into the prepared chocolate cups.

The junior chefs topped off the mousse with raisins and chocolate covered nuts (the hazelnuts are my favourite!), and proudly wrapped their creations in plastic and ribbons to take home.

Le Concheur final chocolate cup

The final chocolate cup.

It was a wonderful event, thoroughly enjoyed by all of the children present and I can see this activity becoming very popular for birthdays and other private parties. Special thanks to Erik Van Der Veken, rock star chocolatier and creator of the amazing chocolate sculptures displayed instore for his hospitality and good grace.

Chocolate Sculpture

One of Erik’s beautiful chocolate creations.

Exciting information that I can reveal exclusively to Jeddah Blog readers is that Erik is working with renowned Saudi couture and bridal fashion designer Reem Faisal on a project that will be unveiled at their Grand Opening, planned for the 24th of November.

Le Concheur can be found close to Sari Bridge, at the intersection of Prince Sultan Street and Kayyal Street and can be followed on Instagram via @leconcheur and @erikvandv

Papaya: Restaurant Review


A friend and I were due to meet up for breakfast earlier this week, and decided to try someplace new and exciting. I had heard about Papaya from another very close friend who is passionate about everything food-related just a day before, and listening to her rave about Papaya resolved to visit and try it out.

Papaya is located next to Souk Shatee close to Malik Road. From the outside, the restaurant is completely unassuming. If I wasn’t looking out for it, I would probably have just passed it by without another thought. I walked around through the side gate and came to a wooden door. I cautiously opened the door, stepped in and was immediately taken by surprise.

Papaya overview

Spacious with high ceilings.

I had been told that Papaya housed many plants and was unique in its decor, but I was still unprepared for the scene that welcomed me; not only was the seating area huge, it was awash in beautiful, natural light flooding in from the high glass ceiling. I have never seen so much greenery in one space before in Jeddah with foliage growing abundantly throughout the restaurant. Add to that the sounds of trickling water from various water features scattered within and the sounds of birds chirping – it was like stepping through a portal and walking straight into a tropical rainforest.

Papaya light

Flooded in natural light and surrounded by water features.

At this point, I was thinking that even if the food was not up to scratch, it would still have been worth visiting just to experience its ambience. While I was waiting for my friend to arrive the waiters handed me the menu and came back again to ask if I would like to order a drink while I was waiting.

Papaya 2

Comfortable and clean seating.

When my breakfast companion arrived, thanks to suggestions on the buzzing Jeddah Foodies Facebook group, we opted for the cheese and zaatar manaeesh and the cinnamon pancakes. The fresh juice list was quite extensive, and we both decided to try the pinacoladas.

Papaya pancakes

Cinnamon pancakes and Pinacolada.

We were not disappointed in the least. The stack of cinnamon pancakes were topped with just the right amount of cream cheese frosting and extra pancake syrup on the side. They were the fluffiest pancakes I have ever eaten and we both agreed that they were delicious.

Papaya Manaeesh

Cheese and Zaatar manaeesh.

The cheese and zaatar manaeesh was very fresh-tasting and the flat bread was soft and not dry as I have found to be the case in many other eateries.

With just the right combination of pineapple and coconut, the pinacolada was refreshing and hit all the right tastebuds. One of the best I’ve tasted here in Jeddah.

The service was very good with waiters greeting us as we entered and making sure we had everything we needed. Prices were very reasonable at SR 60 per head. Portion sizes were generous, as we even had some pancakes left over to take away.

While browsing the menu I noticed an extensive lunch and dinner selection. I would be interested to find out how those meals would compare. Sadly for me there was no wifi, but overall it was a great dining experience and one I look forward to repeating soon.

If you’ve been to Papaya and would like to share your experience, let us know in the comments below.

Jeddah Food: Beyond Fast Food and Five Star Hotels


Regular readers of Jeddah Blog will know by now that we adore anything to do with food. We’ve covered a range of eateries from business lunches to Teayana, PF Chang’s and Al Baik and we love them all. But where is the local food, I hear you ask?

What is especially exciting about this particular blog post is that it has been written by a true insider of Jeddah. A person who has lived here for nearly all of her life, and who knows Jeddah like the back of her hand.

Today’s guest blogger Qurratulain Sikander lets us in on her favourite haunts where real, local food is served. If you want to experience Jeddah the way that locals do, then you just might want to bookmark this page.

With unlimited social posts, and physical presence of International Food Chains and high-end restaurants in Jeddah, it is no wonder, that one is led to believe that good food is only available in these dine-in scenarios.

Do not underestimate the power of local food and non-international food places to get your taste buds dancing. Today, I will share a select few of my favorite food places, which apologetically do not necessarily host a luxurious interior, but serve up delish food!

  1. Foul and Tameez from your local street vendor

Residing in Al Zahra District, we had a local place which served foul (pronounced ‘fool’), as well as, hot yummy crisp bread called tameez. You do not really need a brand to find this local food. Check your area and for sure you can find one shop selling it. Mostly, it is eaten for breakfast, but can be partaken at any possible time. Priced at less than SR 10 for bread and the lentil (foul), you really can’t go wrong with it! To get an extra kick try squeezing lemon on top of the foul, and pairing the food with an ice cold laban. Simple and yum!

  1. Nakheel Super Market

You can find these non-auspicious grocery stores throughout Jeddah. Despite its humble setting, the bakery serves up some zesty spinach fataeer! These are bread triangles baked with a zesty spinach filling. You can walk in in the morning and request a fresh one to be made.

Zaatar Manaeesh

                        Zaatar Manaeesh

While you’re there, ask for a Manaeesh Labnah; a thin round bread topped with a yoghurt consistency cheese. To get the real local taste, ask for zaatar atop the labneh. Zaatar is a dry herb, which will add several levels of flavor to your Manaeesh. A good point to note, zaatar is known to be great for weight loss. So yes ladies, you can have this with no-guilt. Just do not over-eat the yummy carbs. Pair this with a chilled mushshakil (mixed) juice from the juice section.

  1. Wazzan for fast shawarma and quick fresh juice

Located just across from Ikea on Tahlia Street, this place is no small fish, but considering its presence for more than two decades, it’s definitely worth mentioning. Known to serve up Lebanese cuisine, you can opt to dine in or take-away. The Shawarma is juicy and well paired with pickle and thoum (garlic). I usually do not leave without a tray of Falafeel and Wark-el-Anab (stuffed grape leaves). The taste has been consistently good quality, and considering its long-time presence, I doubt any local who may not have eaten here. So to be a true Jeddahian, hop on to the band-wagon as well!

  1. Kudu for its no-nonsense value breakfast, and a mean Quatro

An Arab brand, you can see Kudu throughout Jeddah, as both stand-alone and food court counters. The breakfast is surely sufficient and value for money. On days of an early morning shopping spree, this was my best choice to eat and hop to retail therapy, while remaining within the mall. Nothing lavish, but simple and clean. What did make Kudu stand out for me, is their introduction of Quatro Sandwich. Now this is not really a local cuisine, but the spicy chicken stuffed into the bun with creamy sauce, is both an ordeal to finish, and a struggle to leave unfinished. Do make sure you get the meal, otherwise, you may regret not having a drink to stop the fire on your tongue. Do not let this stop you though! It is a flavour-bursting wonder!

  1. Ruz Bukhari from the local road shop

Another value for money, with simple succulent meal offering, is the Ruz-Bukhari (ruz is Arabic for rice). This is a pairing of cooked rice, with either grilled whole or half chicken. This comes with sauces like tomato sauce and Tahini (sesame seed) sauce, and the usual salad of onion rings and gerger.

ruz bukhari

The meal is a perfectly satisfying mix for dinner, where the serving is sufficient for more than one person. Make it your weekly take-out. My place of choice was a local shop in Al- Zahra, and before that, in Al-Azizia. So shop around and look for a local provider. This meal is a yummy quick buy and completely satisfies meat eaters.

  1. Mandi

Now Mandi can be either chicken, lamb or even a camel! It’s cooked such that the meat is so tender that it literally slides off the bones.

Chicken and Lamb Mandi

Chicken and Lamb Mandi

The traditional way is to cook the meat while buried in the ground in the desert. However, in the city, pressure cookers seem to be doing this job for the sellers. In terms of where I like my Mandi from, I am loyal to Raydan Mandi. You can find several shops throughout the city. The one I frequent is on Heera Street. Your meat will come with abundant rice, and of course the sauces and salad. Another meal with completely different flavorus to enjoy.

The above are just some of my local treats. What are your local foods of choice? Leave a comment and let us know!

Qurratulain Sikander blogs at Quezz Lifestyle.

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