New Restaurant: Bao – Steamed Bun

Posted by Mark

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Last night a new restaurant opened up in Kuwait City called Bao that serves Chinese-style steamed buns (hence the name). Whenever a new restaurant opens up that brings something new to Kuwait I’m usually all over it which was the case here. I’ve had steamed buns before in Kuwait at Street by Al Makan, but to have a place that just focuses on them, even better.

The restaurant is cute looking with around 7 or 8 tables. They had just opened last night so there were only a few other tables occupied when I passed by. I looked at the menu and ended up ordering the following dishes:

Tamarind Drumstick KD2.700
Buttermilk deep fried boneless chicken drumsticks dressed in tamarind glaze.

Coconut Shrimp Bao KD2.000
Coconut crusted shrimp with sweet chili aioli and pickled cucumber and crispy carrot.

Brisket Bao KD2.000
10 hours slow cooked brisket with crispy onion, red chili and ranch sauce.

Sweet Potato Sticks KD1.000

They also brought me a complimentary salad to try:

Pomelo Salad KD2.700
Cubed avocado, pomelo, pomegranate, red cabbage, shredded cucumber and mint with crunchy edamame, tossed with a tangy sweet dressing.

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The orders started coming out randomly with the brisket bao being served first followed by the complimentary salad, then the drumsticks, then the sweet potato and finally the coconut shrimp. I can’t fault them on that since they had literally just opened a couple of hours earlier, so obviously the kitchen still don’t have the timings down.

Everything was pretty good with the two bao’s I had ordered being delicious. The only thing I wasn’t a fan of was the salad, but I’m generally not a salad guy with only a very few salads I like anyway. Right now they only have 9 different types of bao’s to choose from but once the restaurant officially opens they’re hoping to have around 16. One thing I really wanted to try but resisted were their desserts. They had two kinds of bao’s available, one involved fried donuts and a vanilla ice cream glaze while the other involved deep fried banana drizzled with Nutella. Both looked very tempting but decided to save them for my next visit. I ended up paying KD10 including drinks and tip. I was pretty full but if I hadn’t ordered a starter I think I would need three bao’s to fill me up. So price-wise, I wish the bao’s were like half a KD cheaper each.

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Bao is currently in their soft launch phase with their opening hours being from 4PM to 10:30PM. They’re located in Kuwait City near the Sharq Police Station [Here is a Map]. All the photos in this post were taken from their instagram page since the lighting at night wasn’t great so my shots sucked.


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Slice opening in Salmiya

Posted by Mark

slice

I was dining at Köşebaşı in The Cube when on my way out I noticed Slice was opening up outside. I frequent Slice in the city quite often since they’re my favorite Doner kebab place. I always order the carb free Slice box which is basically sliced beef in a box with yogurt sauce. Good food and now conveniently located close to my house.


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Jar at the Sahara Restaurant Village

Posted by Mark

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Back in March I reported that the Sahara Restaurant Village was expected to open up sometime in April or May. It’s now the end of May and although the village hasn’t officially opened, it’s basically ready with many of the restaurants opening any day now. One of those restaurants that is set to open first is Jar. Full disclosure, Jar belongs to a close friend of mine who also happens to be the owner of Choowy Goowy. We met through the blog back in 2006 when I first discovered his cookies and we’ve been friends ever since. I can’t believe that was nearly 10 years ago, insane.

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The menu at Jar hasn’t been finalized yet but I did try a few things and I generally loved most of what I had. It’s definitely not going to be a place to go to if you’re weight watching, instead its a place to go to when you just want delicious food and desert (in my case a cheat day). The interior of the place is beautiful, very minimal with a hardwood floor, super high ceiling, some copper accents and some nicely designed chairs which I fell in love with (I have a thing for chairs).

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Jar is set to open up in a couple of weeks time and I’ll post another update once they do. For now you can check out their instagram account @jar.choowygoowy

The whole village seems to be properly put together with plenty of parking space and nice landscaping. I’m not sure, but I only saw one entry and exit point to this village which will most likely create a bottleneck, I’ll need to ask about that. Below is the most current list I have, of places opening up in the village:

Slider Station
Jar
Villa Fayrouz
Tatami Japanese Restaurant
52 Degrees
Caribou Coffee
Costa Coffee
Athletes Foot
Skinny Cloud
Emirgan Sutis
Le Relais de l’Entrecote
Khaneen
Ubon
Crumbs


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Ramadan is coming

Posted by Mark

ramadan

via @Qatami


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Five Guys Now Open in Dubai

Posted by Mark

fiveguys

Hopefully we’re next in line.


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Man charged with selling fake In-N-Out franchises in the Middle East

Posted by Mark

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Prosecutors say Craig Stevens, 55, started sending out emails in January 2014, telling people that franchises of the popular West Coast burger chain were available at $150,000 per location, with royalties costing $250,000 a year, the Los Angeles Times reports. This scheme brought in $4.27 million, charging documents say, and Stevens allegedly committed wire fraud last June by sending a counterfeit In-N-Out licensing agreement via email to an investor in Lebanon. He pleaded not guilty to charges of wire fraud on Monday, and is free on $10,000 bond. [Source]

I wonder if he sold the franchise to anybody in Kuwait as well?

Thanks Susan and Angel


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McDonald’s “Create Your Taste” Launching in Kuwait

Posted by Mark

cyt

I didn’t know what “Create Your Taste” was until last week when someone in Australia built a colossal burger and the video below went viral. Now it turns out the same concept is launching in Kuwait by the end of the week.


[YouTube]

The way it works is pretty simple, you go up to the “Create Your Taste” kiosk at a McDonald’s and you create your own burger using a touch display. You choose the kind of bun you want, the amount of patties, the different types of cheeses, how many cheeses, the sauces etc.. etc.. and you then head to the cashier and pick up your creation. The guy in Australia basically tried to build the largest burger the kiosk would let him and ended up with the burger below.

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Right now it looks like they’re launching the concept at the Gulf Road location since I spotted the kiosks set up there. Should be interesting to see what some kids are going to end up building.


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Dairy Queen Locations

Posted by Mark

As I’ve previously mentioned, Dairy Queen is coming back to Kuwait after being absent for nearly a decade. Based on their tweet above it looks like they’re starting off with two locations, Marina Mall and The Avenues. No word on when but looks like it’s pretty soon.

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Baking Tray’s Lobster Roll

Posted by Mark

bakingtray

I had my first lobster roll a couple of years back while I was in London but before that my only experience with lobster rolls was watching Guy Fieri devour them on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Before one of my trips to London, a good friend of mine had told me to pass by Burger & Lobster and order their lobster roll, so I did, over and over. It was so delicious I kept going back whenever I could and every time I went back, there would be a long line outside the restaurant. So, I started going there at odd times so there wouldn’t be a line or, when I did find a line, I’d go up to the hostess and ask to sit at the bar which usually involved no waiting at all. Then the best thing happened, they opened up a location inside Harvey Nichols which very few people knew about and so there was never a line. Imagine how good the lobster roll must have been for me to want to come up with a strategy plan on how to get it.

In Kuwait on the other hand lobster rolls started popping up I think last year. The first one I had here was from the Nomad Kitchen food truck back in December. Their lobster rolls are Sriracha glazed and come in a small size like sliders. But I kept hearing about the Baking Tray lobster rolls although the feedback I was hearing was mixed. Some people loved it while others told me not to bother with it. A couple of days back I decided to pass by and try it out for myself.

I’ve been eating clean for three weeks now (summer is here) and I hadn’t had a cheat day in over two weeks so when I got to baking tray not only was I starving but I was also looking forward to cheating a little bit. I ordered the lobster roll and water to go along with it and after waiting for sometime the lobster roll arrived with a side of french fries. My first impression going by looks was that the size and portion of lobster was perfect and the bread looked proper. The only thing that put me off visually was the fact the lobster color was completely washed out by a white sauce. I took my first bite of the roll and realized the bread was perfect and the lobster cooked right but the sauce used on the other hand was disappointing. The sauce tasted like mayonnaise mixed with lemon juice and was unexciting and too watery killing all the lobster flavor. I finished up my roll, ate a couple of the fries, paid and left but not before giving them my feedback regarding the sauce. Hopefully they’ll take my feedback into consideration since if they get the sauce right they might have a hit on their hands. The price on the other hand is going to be an issue for some people as well. They’re selling the lobster roll for KD12, which is around KD3 more expensive than what I pay when I’m in London. I would like to pay a maximum of KD10 but not sure if that’s doable with the price of lobsters in Kuwait. In any case if you’re interested in trying it out, here is link to the their instagram account @bakingtraykw


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New Restaurant: Healthy Feast

Posted by Mark

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Healthy Feast is a new restaurant that soft launched last week. As you can tell from the name, it’s a healthy restaurant and they pride themselves in having fresh, locally grown, organic and gluten free dishes. Even their menu starts off with the following introduction:

We support local, organic and sustainable practices wherever possible. Our menu is always changing according to what is available and seasonal. This is today’s menu:

So right off the bat I was pretty excited to try out their dishes.

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The restaurant is located in Bneid Al Gar and although the exterior doesn’t look like much the interior is very cute and bright with lots of natural daylight coming in. The walls were rough and painted white with natural wood being used everywhere. I would have taken a photo but a couple of tables were already occupied so I couldn’t. Once I sat down I was given the menu and after going through it I decided to go with the following:

Raw zucchini with almond thai dressing KD1.950
Pumpkin & avocado maki roll, with beet brown rice KD2.500
Root vegetables in curried lemongrass coconut milk KD3.500
Green Wellness juice: spinach, cucumber, apple, celery and lemon KD1.850

While waiting for my dishes I was also served a complimentary bowl of cheesy kale chips which usually costs KD1.500.

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The first dish to arrive was my raw zucchini which looked like a small bowl of spaghetti. This dish completely caught me by surprise since it was so full of flavor. It tasted like an intricate starter I would have at a Japanese restaurant and I loved it (I later found out the chef was Japanese). The second dish I was served were the maki rolls. They were also pretty good although I was worried they would fill me up before my main dish arrived. I really wish they had chopsticks though since my first two dishes could have used them. When I asked the waitress for chopsticks she went into the kitchen and came back and told me the Japanese chef said I should use my fingers. I thought that was a hilarious soup nazi moment and proceeded to eat the rolls with my fingers, I had no problem with that. Once I was done with the rolls I was served the curry bowl. For the curry bowl I had three choices for the base, cauliflower rice, brown rice or quinoa. I went with quinoa although I haven’t been having quinoa for awhile now since I’m so over it. But, the curry was so flavorful and delicious I don’t think it would have mattered if I had gone with quinoa or any of the other rice options.

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It’s a new restaurant, I ordered three completely new dishes I hadn’t tried before and I ended up loving all three. The chances of that happening are pretty rare which is why I fell in love with the place. It kind feels like an evolution to Gia or what Gia should have become. I did have two minor issues though. The first was with my juice, it was served in a beaker but it was filled less than half way which made it look like either someone had already drank from it or they had run out of juice while filling it up. The second thing is the lack of chopsticks. Again it’s not a big issue but two out of the three dishes I had were Japanese like and my guess is there are more dishes like that on the menu so why not have chopsticks as well?

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In any case as I said I loved the place and I’m actually going back for lunch today. Healthy Feast is located in Bneid Al Gar and right now they’re open daily except for Sundays from 2PM to 7PM. Here is a link to their instagram account @healthy_feast and here is their location on [Google Maps]


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