JOA Sushi & Poke

Post by Mark

Some of you might already know JOA since they’ve been on Carriage but they just opened up their first physical location and it’s located right next to Habra in Kuwait City. For those of you who don’t know, JOA is an ORA creation that serve sushi but also specialize in poke bowls. I had previously only ordered sushi rolls from them but over the weekend I passed by their location for lunch and finally got to try one of their poke bowls. I fell in love instantly.

I ordered the regular sized “Tuna on Fire” poke bowl with extra protein and it was so damn good that I ended up ordering it again for dinner that same night from Carriage. They’re soft launching their new location today and their timings for now will only be from 12PM to 7PM. The place is tiny with no indoor seating but they do have an outdoor seating area.

So if you’re interested, their instagram account is @joa.kw and here is their location on [Google Maps]


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Tips for Eating at Habra Beef Canteen

Post by Mark

So Habra is officially my new favorite restaurant in Kuwait alongside Table Otto. I’ve been going to both on a weekly basis now but realized Habra needed a dedicated post with some tips so here it goes.

Getting a Table
Get there early! If you’ve been holding out on Habra until it starts dying down, well good luck with that. So far the least amount of time I’ve waited was 1h 15min, while the longest I’ve waited was last night which was 2h 45min. I haven’t even tried going there on a weekend. They only have 5 tables, 2 of them fit 4 people, 2 fit 2 people (or 3 really squeezed), and the last one is a communal table that holds around 12. The place is tiny and the host currently has the most dangerous job in the world, seriously the amount of people who get into fights with him on a daily basis, I’d hate to have his job. So get there early, put your name on the list and then head over to Coffee Boulevard and go coffeeshop hopping.

Ordering
Order what you want when you want it. The food doesn’t take long to be prepared and served so they have a habit of bringing you a large number of your dishes all at once. Last week I got into an argument with the waiter because they served me and my friend all 5 of our starters and 3 of our mains at the same time. We literally had no room on the table to put all the items and it’s just physically impossible to eat everything at once. So this is the best tip I can give you, order the first few dishes you want to have first, like all your starters. Once you’re done with your starters, order your mains. Nothing takes long to be served, I think 6 minutes is the longest you have to wait for a dish to get served. Trust me, you’ll have a better experience this way.

What to Order
I always order different things but the items below are staples that will always be included:
– Bone marrow (I can’t say this enough, don’t share! Everyone order your own)
– Four and a half hour braised rib
– Three-way Kalbi
– Foil-baked mushrooms

What Not to Order
Resist the urge to order their charred cantaloupe dessert. It sounds good but there is no way on earth you can eat it. I’ve ordered it twice and twice I was just going to take the cantaloupe and hit someone with it. It’s nearly impossible to eat which is a shame because it has potential. My tip for them is to remove the cantaloupe from the shell by chopping it up, then put it back in the shell, top if off with the rest of the ingredients and serve it like that. Or just remove it from the menu completely.

Vegetarians/Vegans
lol

Bathroom
They don’t have one, you’re meant to use the one in the parking lot a few stories above them. Takes forever to get up there and the bathrooms are super gross. So if you need to use the bathroom, get it done somewhere else before your dinner or after. The bathroom in the basement of Crystal Tower is the closest nicest bathroom, while the bathroom at Arabica is the coolest because of their high-tech toilet. Be nice and order coffee if you’re gonna use that one (they have decaf).

Parking
I hate the parking lot in the Habra building since leaving it takes forever and the elevators are the slowest. Personally, I like to park behind Arabica and head to Habra walking. The walk back after a big meal is always appreciated and there is no long queue when leaving the parking.

So these are my tips, if you’d like to read my previous post on Habra then click [Here]


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Bonchon Chicken Opening in Kuwait

Post by Mark

Bonchon Chicken is a popular Korean fried chicken and wings restaurant and it’s opening in Kuwait soon. They’ve got locations mostly in Asia but they do have branches in New York and Bahrain as well.

I’ve never eaten there but a friend has and told me their fried chicken is really good so now I’m curious to try it out. They’re opening at the new Dhai Complex in Bida’a which I thought was a sort of a high end food complex so that location choice seems a bit odd. I don’t know when they’re opening exactly so if you do, let me know in the comments below.

Update: According to a reader they might be opening end of February.


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What’s in Argan Square?

Post by Mark

The Argan Square project is located in Salmiya right across from AUK and is nearly complete and will be opening soon. Below is a list of brands that will be located there:

12 Chutneys (Indian Restaurant)
American Copy Center (Print Shop)
Ananas (Juices and Smoothies by Ubon guys)
Arabica (Coffee Shop)
Backyard (Restaurant)
Bean to Bar (Chocolates)
Big Smoke Burger (Burgers)
Bowl’d (Acai bowls)
Caribou (Coffee Shop)
Coffee Masters ME (Coffe Shop)
Diet Center (Pick Up & Go)
ICAF (Coffee Shop)
MANA (Mediterranean Restaurant by Ubon guys)
Muscle Maker Grill (Restaurant)
Rockhouse Slider (Burgers)
Scoop-a-cone (Ice Cream)
Ubon (Thai Restaurant)
WH Smith (Bookshop)

Since I live in Salmiya, from the list above I have to say I’m looking forward mostly to Ubon, Arabica and 12 Chutneys opening up in the area.


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Talks to Bring Pret a Manger to Kuwait

Post by Mark

According to a source, Al Yasra are in talks to try and bring Pret a Manger to Kuwait. Pret is already available in the UAE and so it would make sense to expand around the region. I always used to wonder where one would open a Pret in Kuwait since it works well in an area with some foot traffic that isn’t a mall. Now With all the coffee shops in the city creating a bit of foot traffic, that might actually be a great location for a Pret especially since its surrounded by office buildings as well.


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Dear Coffeeshops

Post by Mark

Clearly we have too many coffeeshops at the moment but I actually like that, I think we’ve found a sort of a loophole in the system. Since we can’t open bars in Kuwait people are opening coffeeshops with the same vibe as a bar, just coffee instead of alcohol, and it’s working.

My only issue is why is everyone opening a coffeeshop in Kuwait City right next to 20 other already good coffeeshops?

Earlier today I wanted to have coffee with a friend of mine in Jabriya and we realized there wasn’t any good coffee place in the area, so I recommended we drive down all the way to the city to Arabica. Then a couple of hours ago I was supposed to meet another friend over coffee in Salmiya, and the only place I could think of was Magnet, which I actually like don’t get me wrong. It’s just once you’re outside of the city you wouldn’t think there was a speciality coffee trend in Kuwait, it’s non existent.

So dear coffeeshops, please open up outside of Kuwait City closer to where people live. Thank you.


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The Mandarin by EDO

Post by Mark

The Mandarin is a new little neighborhood shop that was opened last week by the popular Japanese restaurant EDO. It’s a small store which carries a variety of EDO food items including sushi rolls, salads and their popular ice creams, but they also carry items EDO use in the kitchen as well as a large assortment of different teas and tea accessories.

Currently they’re still in a soft launch phase and so are open from 1PM to 9PM. They’re located right next to the OVO restaurant in Bneid Al-Gar. Here is the location on [Google Maps] and you could also get a bit more info from the EDO instagram account @edo_restaurant


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HABRA Beef Canteen

Post by Mark

Last night I finally got to pass by and have dinner at HABRA, the new restaurant by the well known chef Ahmed AlBader. He’s the chef behind some popular places like Burger Hub, Prime & Toast, Pizzetta, Butchers Den and eight6 Bistro that used to be located in the Avenues back in 2009. He also used to host The Chef’s Table on YouTube which I think he should actually bring back. Anyway, I’m personally not a fan of Burger Hub, Prime & Toast, Pizzetta and Butchers Den so I really wasn’t planning on trying HABRA, but I’m glad I did because I think HABRA is by far his best creation yet.

I dropped by last night and ended up waiting an hour and forty five minutes to get a table for three. It was a Sunday so I can’t imagine how long the wait might be on a weekend. Luckily HABRA is walking distance to like 200 speciality coffee shops and a Pick Yo so killing time wasn’t an issue. We walked around, had frozen yogurt and coffee until we got the call that our table was ready.

The place is pretty small and very cozy. We sat down on a corner table and just started ordering a ton of stuff since everything on the menu sounded so good.

Kale and nori slaw KD1.750
Crispy brussel sprouts KD2.000
Bone marrow, chimichuri, sour dough KD3.750
Grilled avocado KD2.250
Grilled rapanini, jaggery, tamarind butter KD2.250
Rib and manchengo fries KD4.500
Baked sweet potato, cinnamon sugar butter KD 1.950
Chef’s burger KD6.500
Four and a half hour braised rib, Korean sweet chili KD6.950
Pulled lamb, dates, prunes KD3.500
Three-way Kalbi KD8.500
Charred cantaloup, ice cream, meringue, honey KD2.500
Pomegranate and pecan brownie KD2.750

Everything we had was delicious. My least favorite item was probably the burger while my favorite was the braised rib (pictured above). The bone marrow and Kalbi both came a close second (note: don’t share the bone marrow with a friend, be selfish and let them order their own). And don’t bother ordering the cantaloup dessert, it was impossible to eat. Our total came out to KD19 per person including tips and drinks which is reasonable considering the amount of food we had.

Was it worth the nearly 2 hour wait? I think so, I mean it wasn’t like I was standing in line for 2 hours, theres a lot to do in the area so just make sure you pass by and put your name on the list and then go do your thing. If you’re just gonna wait until the restaurant becomes less popular I don’t think thats gonna happen anytime soon. Every place in that area is busy all the time and HABRA doesn’t have that many tables inside. Speaking of the location, HABRA is located right next to Gia in Kuwait City, close to SOMU. Here is their location on [Google Maps]. They’re also located on instagram @habrakw and they’re currently open daily from 6PM to 10PM.


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Updated List of Speciality Coffee Shops

Post by Mark

I’ve been meaning to post this updated list of coffee shops for a few weeks now but I kept on finding out about more coffee shops so I kept postponing the post. We’ve got so many coffee shops now that we even have two different ones with the same name. I don’t think I’ve missed any places but in case I have, let me know in the comments.

Alpha Café
Amo Cafe
Arabica
ASPRO + PRO Coffee Bar
Awake Coffee
BLAKK Coffee
Bon Coffee
Boost Cafe
BRW
But First Coffee
CAF
Caffeine
Caveman Coffee
Cova Specialty Coffee
Cropped Coffee
CRL Bar
Days*Cafe
Dose Cafe
Etsi Kafe Lab
Force Bar
Grace
His Majesty
Jumo
Keys Coffee Shop
Kôfē – Espresso Bar
Let’s Coffee
Majnoon Qahwa
Mood Coffee Bar
Muse Coffeesphere
Muse Espresso Bar
New Brew Coffee
Not Just Coffee
Pause Coffee
Perhaps Some Coffee
Pirate Cafe
Richard’s Coffee
Savage Coffees
Seven Grams Coffee Lab
Shots
Shuwaikh Coffee
SIP
Street Cafe
The Breeze Cafe
Three and Barista
Toby’s Estate
Vibes Coffee
Vol 1
Wish Cafe

Most of the places above opened up in the past 6 months or so. Insane.


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Enab Lebanese Restaurant

Post by Mark

One of my favorite Lebanese restaurants just opened up in Kuwait. ‘Enab’ is probably the Lebanese restaurant I frequent the most when I’m in Lebanon and so was pretty surprised when I found out they opened here. In Lebanon they’re located in the popular Mar Mikhael area near all the nightlife so was super convenient to start off with dinner there before walking down to all the bars. In Kuwait on the other hand they’re located in the Menus Restaurant Complex in Abu Halifa, which means they’re so out of the way for me that I won’t be able to pass by frequently.

In case you’re interested, their instagram account is @Enabkuwait


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